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What are the applications of laser processing in PCB industry

PCB is the printed circuit board. As the mother of electronic components, it is the most critical product component in the fields of electronics, communications, and IT, and it acts as a bridge between the past and the future.

At present, 5G, wearable, autonomous driving and other industries under the intelligent technology continue to develop, consumers have increased requirements for products, and intelligence, thinness, and miniaturization have become the mainstream of development. The volume of PCB becomes smaller, the thickness becomes thinner, more and more electronic components are accommodated, and the requirements for processing precision are also higher and higher. 

There are many components installed on a small PCB circuit board, and the structure is quite complicated, which requires more sophisticated laser processing technology. Then what is the laser processing in PCB industry? Keep reading!

Table of Contents

PCB laser cutting

The traditional way of processing PCB, mainly including cutters, milling cutters, gong cutters, etc., has the disadvantages of dust, burrs, and stress, which has a great impact on small or component-loaded PCB circuit boards and cannot meet new application requirements. The application of laser technology in PCB cutting provides a new technical direction for PCB processing. Advanced laser processing technology can realize non-contact cutting and direct molding at one time, which has the advantages of no burr, high precision, fast speed, small gap, small heat-affected area, etc.

Laser Cut PCBs
Laser Cut PCBs

Compared with traditional cutting technology, laser cutting is completely dust-free and stress-free, no burrs, smooth and tidy cutting edges, especially the processing of PCB boards with soldered components will not cause damage to components, and has become the best choice for many PCB manufacturers.

PCB laser marking

PCB laser marking
PCB laser marking

Electronic products are updated rapidly, thus requiring PCB products to establish a complete data traceability system from warehousing, production to testing, and out of the warehouse. In order to realize the quality control and product traceability of the PCB board production process, the product must be marked with text or barcode to give the product a unique ID card. In order to ensure the non-pollution and permanence of ID cards and reduce costs, laser marking has become an industry trend to replace label paper.

PCB laser soldering

PCB laser soldering
PCB laser soldering

Laser soldering is a brazing method in which a laser is used as a heat source to melt tin to make the components fit tightly. The advantages of laser soldering technology mainly include the following points:

  • It can solder some other components that are susceptible to heat damage or cracking in soldering;
  • Without contact, will not cause mechanical stress to the soldering object;
  • On a circuit with dense components, it can irradiate the narrow part that the soldering iron tip cannot enter and change the angle when there is no distance between adjacent components in a dense assembly, without heating the entire circuit board;
  • Only the soldering area is locally heated during soldering, and other non-soldering areas do not bear thermal effects;
  • The soldering time is short, the efficiency is high, and the solder joints will not form a thick intermetallic layer, so the quality is reliable and the maintainability is high;
  • Traditional soldering with electric soldering iron needs to replace the soldering iron tip regularly, while laser welding needs to replace very few accessories, so maintenance costs can be reduced.

PCB laser drilling

Traditional mechanical drilling technology is difficult to achieve micro-hole processing, the depth is uncontrollable during blind hole processing, and tools must be replaced frequently. 

PCB laser drilling
PCB laser drilling

Laser drilling refers to the optical structure module composed of lenses and lens groups, which gathers the light emitted by the laser light source into a high-energy-density laser beam, uses the laser beam to heat, dissolve, and ablate local materials, and then processes to form micropores. It is especially suitable for the processing of PCB blind holes and buried holes. Appropriate drilling methods can play the role of signal conduction, and through multi-layer stacking, it can meet the processing requirements of smaller volume circuit boards.

Conclusion

Laser is another great invention of human since the 20th century after nuclear energy, computer and semiconductor. It is widely used in laser marking, laser soldering, laser cutting, optical fiber communication and other fields. After several years of development, laser processing has gradually replaced the traditional soldering process and has become an important part of the PCB industry chain. With the development of science and technology, the position of laser in PCB industry will become more and more important.

FAQ
  1. PCB laser cutting
  2. PCB laser marking
  3. PCB laser soldering
  4. PCB laser drilling

Laser soldering is a brazing method in which a laser is used as a heat source to melt tin to make the components fit tightly.

Laser drilling refers to the optical structure module composed of lenses and lens groups, which gathers the light emitted by the laser light source into a high-energy-density laser beam, uses the laser beam to heat, dissolve, and ablate local materials, and then processes to form micropores.

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