Laser Pointers: Stepping Up to Laser Processing for Flex, Part 4—Installation, Training and Initial Operation

Supplementing your production capabilities with flexible circuit laser processing can pay big dividends. It not only enables you to broaden the set of services you can offer your customers, but it also extends your reach into additional markets you might not otherwise be well-equipped to serve. Employing laser technology is one of the best ways to stay current in PCB processing, since it enables you to process more accurate and smaller features than what is possible using mechanical processing.

In a previous installment (part 3) of the “Stepping Up to Laser Processing for Flex” series, we discussed the most critical issues related to ensuring that your factory is prepared for implementation of your new laser processing system. With your factory now prepared, let’s review the issues associated with getting your new system installed and running properly, so that you can start processing your first runs. This time we’ll focus on installation best practices, system verification testing, training and the safe operation of your system.

Getting it

There As with any large piece of manufacturing equipment, just getting it onsite can be the first challenge. Your system supplier should be able to help coordinate transportation of the system to your facility. Working together with your supplier, your shipping/logistics partner and, if necessary, a local rigging company will ensure a smooth delivery and setup process. The International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) associated with your system purchase will outline the tasks, costs and risks associated with the system’s shipment. It’s a document that provides details regarding the location to which the system is being delivered and includes the point at which final transportation and any associated insurance become your responsibility.

Due to liability concerns, you will typically need to take responsibility for movement of the system once it reaches your facility. Unless you can provide your own in-house rigging, it is a good practice to stage the equipment at your lo cal rigging company’s facility. This is especially beneficial if multiple systems are expected to arrive at different times. This will minimize the production interruptions typically associated with systems being repositioned on the production floor. Such off-site staging is also useful if you do not have an interim storage facility that meets the system storage environmental requirements. For instance, laser systems can become damaged as the result of being exposed to conditions such as high humidity and extreme temperatures or—even worse—being stored outdoors in pouring rain!

 

Editor's Note: To read this entire article, which appeared in the November 2016 issue of The PCB Magazine, click here.

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2016

Laser Pointers: Stepping Up to Laser Processing for Flex, Part 4—Installation, Training and Initial Operation

12-14-2016

Supplementing your production capabilities with flexible circuit laser processing can pay big dividends. It not only enables you to broaden the set of services you can offer your customers, but it also extends your reach into additional markets you might not otherwise be well-equipped to serve.

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Laser Processing and Telecentricity

09-08-2016

Since Mike Jennings and Patrick Riechel often receive questions on topics that are relevant to a broader audience, they’ve decided to start using this column to share those questions and answers with their readers. They’ll periodically devote this column to address questions that are especially timely or topical, or address a topic that affects a wider range of readers.

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Automate to Innovate in Flex Processing

06-09-2016

The growing market demand for mobile devices, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices continues to create new challenges for suppliers and manufacturers in the electronics value chain. Along with this market demand comes a challenging set of market requirements for the underlying circuits and components that drive such devices.

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Stepping up to Laser Processing for Flex, Part 3: Readiness and Site Preparation

05-04-2016

With so many processes to keep track of in a flex manufacturing line, it can be easy to get lost in the details and begin to rely on your suppliers to address any issues that might crop up. However, given that laser processing equipment and flex materials are both impacted by your facilities, your attention to and investment in clean, stable, and robust facilities and support equipment will quickly pay off in less downtime, higher yield, and—perhaps most importantly—fewer headaches!

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Stepping Up to Laser Processing for Flex, Part 2: Calculating and Optimizing Production

04-14-2016

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the advantages of adding flex laser processing to gain a competitive advantage. In Part 2 we will build on that discussion, looking at the ways you can optimize your flexible circuit laser processing to get the efficiencies that drive lower cost of ownership.

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2015

Stepping Up To Laser Processing for Flex, Part 1: Opportunities and Implications

10-08-2015

Market demand for smaller, faster, wearable, lighter and more powerful devices continues to keep PCB manufacturers scrambling to keep up as they evolve and adapt their manufacturing capabilities to meet changing customer needs.

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Keeping on Top of Laser Safety

07-26-2015

With consumer electronics continuing to get thinner and packed with more functionality, laser processing systems have become a permanent part of the manufacturing landscape. Lasers are used to produce ever-smaller microvias in increasingly delicate flexible and rigid-flex circuits.

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