Orbotech’s Gaby Waisman: 'The Future is Digital'


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Starkey: I can understand clearly what you're saying from personal background. I saw what could be achieved with screen printing. And screen printing can achieve very good, very precise, very high throughput results. Probably not to the level of definition that's required by today's design technology. There was a period when the interim solution was with a photoimageable ink but, as you make the point, it is a very wasteful process—probably 95% of the ink you use becomes an effluent treatment problem for you. With a digital process that's capable of very high definition, high resolution and high precision of registration, you're only using a fraction of the ink when you would be using, and you're not really creating any effluent problem at all.

Waisman: You're absolutely right. There are many other benefits, whether its serialization or enabling different types of prints in a much more flexible way, which we haven't discussed. I think the main points here are really the ability to have a digital, automated, mass market, mass production product in this tool.

Starkey: We see an increasing amount of automation in PCB manufacturing. We're very conscious of Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, and all of the things that you have mentioned are modules that will build into this fully integrated system.

Waisman: It's all pieces of the puzzle. I think we're getting to a point in which we have the full puzzle sorted out, and this is obviously a critical piece.

Starkey: Again, from a personal point of view, I've seen the evolution of Orbotech over many years. In the beginning you were associated with optical inspection, you were associated with pre-production tooling. You've moved on from there to be an imaging company and, as I said earlier, you're imaging at the primary-image stage and you're imaging at the final-image stage. You are progressing more and more and more towards full automation. We see this as, as you said, the manufacturing concept for the future.

Waisman: When we are talking about automation, we are addressing the different types of automation required by different manufacturers, whether they need to be in line, to be side by side, and now we have roll to roll. It's all part of the need to be more efficient, have better cost per print, and have cost reduction in general. This is all part of the same trend.

Starkey: You also mentioned your ability to produce information, which is not just manufacturing information, but can give you an awful lot of feedback from the point of view of manufacturing management, business management, analysis, etc.

Waisman: We will have a short demo to show you exactly what we're referring to. I think this is a very powerful tool to increase the efficiency even further. Trying to synergize between different data that we're receiving from different tools on the production floor—just another layer of efficiency using this kind of unique synergy. The second tool is concerned with yield enhancement. As you know, 75% or so of yield issues are caused by shorts. Here we have the tool, the Ultra PerFix, which is designed for automatic optical shaping. We have definitely led this kind of concept and over the year we’ve perfected the machine, basically in order to increase the throughput of reworking shorts.

Starkey: I've observed the evolution of this system from the original concept.

Waisman: We've focused on two axes, one to increase the throughput and the other to reduce the line-space. We started around 25 or 30 microns. Now the Ultra PerFix you see here on the floor goes down to 10, and it's not only addressing the rigid but also the flex. Again, full automation, roll to roll, different table sizes. This is another specific example of how you see yield improvement in general. Now, it's not only the yield improvement when we are referring to a standard base production. People tell us okay, we've improved the yield, perhaps this will no longer be required. From our experience it's not only doing it on a regular basis but also when you change technology for processes, when you need to change production needs basically; this is a fantastic tool to verify that you don't have a drop in yield while you are doing that. When you are moving between different kinds of technology, different kinds of processes and requirements, you can maintain your yield level using these kinds of machines. I'm very proud to say that this has become a tool of record for the advanced HDI and flex industry. This is the second example.

The third example refers to perhaps our core, our legacy of being AOI market leader. In that respect we've also invested quite a lot in ensuring that we deal with two axes of throughput and line-space. So this AOI over here, the Ultra family, offers machines that go down to five microns basically. So we're referring to PCB and substrate industries, or segments within the industry. As you know this is a very unique technology offering dual light source, both blue and red. Here we're showcasing a machine that goes down to 15 microns, and this is obviously the leader in the flex industries. Now we're seeing another wave of machines going down to 10 microns in the substrate realm. We are already offering machines that have five microns with very unique technologies that can address very flexible ability to manage five to 20 microns with the same machine, and a very sophisticated optical system.

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