FCT Develops Versatile Water Soluble Flux for Leaded and Lead-Free Soldering

FCT Assembly (www.fctassembly.com), a leader in the development and manufacturing of159HF_thumb high performance solders and advanced fluxes; has formulated a unique halogen-free water soluble flux with high activity and neutral pH. FCT’s 159HF is a highly versatile solder flux formulated to perform under high temperatures and is compatible with both leaded and lead free alloys. With the low solids content of 159HF, the water soluble flux is applicable in selective; drop-jet spray soldering applications while also being ideal for wave soldering. Because the flux stays active under critical temperatures during pre-heat and wave, 159HF performs exceptionally well in high temperature applications, especially with manufacturers using multilayer boards with lots of heat sink resulting in improved topside fill.

FCT’s 159HF Water Soluble Flux provides excellent ionic cleanliness after water cleaning and has been formulated to minimize foaming in the wash process. In addition to high volume application, 159HF can also be used for surface mount rework and touch-up soldering operations. To take advantage of this flexible Water Soluble Flux, please contact your local FCT Sales Representative or visit our website at www.fctassembly.com.

FCT to Showcase Advanced Printing Technologies at APEX 2016

FCT Assembly (www.fctassembly.com), well-known in the electronics assembly industry for its Fine Line Stencil and FCT Solder divisions, will highlight its broad portfolio of printing products at IPC APEX 2016 (www.ipcapexexpo.org), as well as take part in multiple technical conference programs. From booth # 1139 over March 15 – 17, the FCT exhibit will play host to the company’s various technologies including innovative step/relief stencil capabilities, NanoSlic Gold coated stencil and newly formulated, pre-released water soluble paste, WS890.

“At our foundation, we are chemistry formulation experts and this expertise drives the development of major industry breakthroughs, which show attendees are encouraged to discuss with our team,” says FCT President, Mike Scimeca.

ns2NanoSlic has quickly emerged as the premiere coating technology for improved solder paste transfer efficiency, reduced underside cleaning requirements and overall printing yield improvements. On Wednesday, March 16th during the “Stencil Printing” technical session, FCT will be presenting a paper entitled “An Investigation into the Use of Nano Coated Stencils to Improve Solder Paste Printing with Small Stencil Aperture Area Ratios” which highlights the effect Nano Coatings have on transfer efficiency and print definition.

In addition to WS890, FCT will be showcasing their next generation of solder products including pastes, leading lead-free solder bar (SN100C), wires and fluxes. Tony Lentz, FCT Assembly Field Application Engineer, will present a paper entitled “Water Soluble Solder Paste, Wet Behind the Ears or Wave of the Future?” as part of the “Solder Paste Development” session set to take place on Tuesday, March 15th. The paper underscores the research and development of a new water soluble lead-free solder paste that improves on the performance characteristics of existing No-Clean technologies.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, send an e-mail to jglanzer@fctassembly.com.

Licensed Stencil Manufacturers Feature Florida CirTech’s NanoSlic Coating

Introduced to the electronics market in 2014, NanoSlic is a proprietary thermoset polymer coating that renders metals, glass and polymers hydrophobic and oleophobic for improved protection and performance.   FCT has developed not only the breakthrough chemistry, but also the equipment and application process that provide a turnkey stencil coating solution, NanoSlic Gold. Though used in multiple markets (www.nanoslic.com) for various safeguarding purposes, for electronics assembly applications, NanoSlic-coated stencils dramatically improve printing performance.

Florida CirTech has signed on two NanoSlic Stencil Coating licensees in North America, Fine Line Stencil (FLS) and Metal Etch Technology (MET). The stencils licensees are required to use a patented NanoSlic Stencil Coating System developed at Florida CirTech’s Innovation Center in Cincinnati, OH. This system offers a more efficient and effective process for coating stencils, incorporating a number of proprietary features specifically designed around NanoSlic’s unique chemistry.

“NanoSlic has quickly emerged as the most robust stencil coating technology for modern electronics assembly processes,” says Brent Nolan, Vice President of FCT Assembly.  “As apertures become smaller – and area ratios more challenging – new techniques are necessary to accommodate the material deposition obstacles of miniaturization”.  Because of its novel chemistry and its ability to coat both inside the aperture walls and the stencil underside, NanoSlic is enabling transfer efficiency improvements of as much as 40%, while reducing required under-stencil cleaning frequency for both cost savings and greater process stability.

You can discover more about Florida CirTech’s unique coating technology at Fine Line Stencil’s Booth #1139 or MET’s Booth #1460.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, send an e-mail to jglanzer@fctassembly.com.

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FREE Webinar: Advancements in SMT Printing

webinar5

Moderator: Trevor Galbraith, Editor-in-Chief (Global SMT & Packaging)
Presenter: Chrys Shea (Shea Engineering)
Expert Panel: Jeff Schake (DEK), Mark Brawley (Speedprint) and Tony Lentz (FCT Companies)

An in-depth look at the new technologies that will affect printing and stencil technologies going forward. This free webinar is presented by Chrys Shea from Shea Engineering. After the presentation, the technologies will be discussed in a roundtable with Jeff Schake (DEK), Mark Brawley (Speedprint) and Tony Lentz (FCT Companies). The webinar will be moderated by Trevor Galbraith, Editor-in-Chief at Global SMT & Packaging.

The presentation will review new technologies that are becoming available to help PCB assemblers boost yields, reduce costs and improve process controls.

What you will learn?

  • New foil materials, mesh materials, high tension mounting, and nanocoatings
  • New stencil cutting and stepping technologies
  • New solder paste flux mediums, room temperature stability, and the trend toward finer solder powder types in response to miniaturization
  • New hardware and software upgrades on stencil printing equipment

Who should attend? 

  • Solder paste process printing technicians and engineers
  • Manufacturing engineering and quality assurance managers
  • New product engineers, especially those associated with miniaturization

Fine Line Stencil Upgrades Step Stencil Technology

New Capability Offers Improved Step Stencil Quality for Challenging Assemblies

December 3, 2015 – Continuing to invest in the most advanced stencil production technologies, FCT Assembly’s Fine Line Stencil division today announced that it has added a next-generation micro-milling system to its operation to enable production of highly-accurate step — or multi-level — stencils.

Step stencils are used for a variety of applications and have seen demand rise as component footprints shrink.  Miniaturization and certain assembly configurations challenge traditional, single-thickness coplanar stencils. Step stencils provide flexibility for ensuring proper solder paste height and volume for fine-pitch components that are distributed over a wide area; or, for heterogeneous assemblies that incorporate small devices alongside larger components which require more paste volume.

“We have offered step stencil manufacture for some time,” explains Brent Nolan, FCT Assembly Vice President, “but the products were produced using a chemical etching process which constrains transitional thickness flexibility, has reduced surface quality and limited accuracy.  Board designs are becoming more complex and now dictate very stringent feature control, which is why Fine Line Stencil has invested in a state-of-the-art micro-milling platform that allows exceptional accuracy and repeatability.”

The standard chemical etching process takes anywhere from one and a half to two hours, on average, to produce a single 1 mil (25 µm) step.  Numerous repeat processes are required to chemically-etch multiple steps and, because of this ongoing repetition, the accuracy across the entire process window can be compromised.    Alternatively, the micro-milling system now employed by Fine Line Stencil, leverages the most advanced optics to deliver exceptional positional accuracy for extremely tight tolerances in half the time.    In fact, per 25 µm of depth, there is less than 3 µm of variance from feature to feature.

The ability to finely mill the various stencil steps ensures that the transition from one level to another are smooth and that the surface roughness of the steps are consistent with that of the rest of the stencil.  This results in a more repeatable and accurate printing process, less paste smearing and reduced stencil underside paste extrusion.

“The micro-milling process produces more precise multi-level stencils as compared to chemical etching,” says Nolan in conclusion.  “Our customers will benefit from these quality products, which enable production of high-yield assemblies that incorporate challenging components such as micro BGAs, 0.3 mm CSPs, 0201s and fine-pitch QFNs.”

For more information, visit www.finelinestencil.com or call 719-510-6000.

FCT Assembly’s NanoSlic® Stencil Coating Recognized for its Electronics Assembly Innovation

Enabling Chemistry Further Validated with Global Technology Award, Expanded Licensing Agreements and Customer Acceptance

November 17, 2015 — At last week’s Productronica event held in Munich, Germany, FCT Assembly was honored with a Global Technology Award for its new, VOC-free stencil coating, NanoSlic® (www.nanoslic.com).  This award win comes on the heels of several successes for NanoSlic, including recent expansion of the company’s licensing network and increased use of the coating technology among global electronics manufacturing firms.

NSPress2Introduced to the electronics market in 2014, NanoSlic is a proprietary coating chemistry that renders metals, glass and polymers hydrophobic and oleophobic for improved protection and performance.   FCT has developed not only the breakthrough chemistry, but also the equipment and coating process that provide a turnkey coating solution. Though used in multiple markets for various safeguarding purposes, for electronics assembly applications, NanoSlic-coated stencils dramatically improve printing performance.

“NanoSlic has quickly emerged as the most robust stencil coating technology for modern electronics assembly processes,” says Brent Nolan, Vice President of FCT Assembly.  “As apertures become smaller – and area ratios more challenging – new techniques are necessary to accommodate the material deposition obstacles of miniaturization.  Because of its novel chemistry and its ability to coat both inside the aperture walls and the stencil underside, NanoSlic is enabling transfer efficiency improvements of as much as 40%, while reducing required understencil cleaning frequencies for cost savings and greater process stability.  It’s gratifying to have the Global Technology Award judging panel recognize NanoSlic’s market impact; we are grateful to Global SMT & Packaging magazine for sponsoring this contest.”

The requirement for improved print performance for today’s challenging device dimensions has accelerated the use of NanoSlic-coated stencils and this demand has initiated expansion of NanoSlic licensing worldwide.  There are currently three authorized NanoSlic licensees globally, and several more exploring opportunities with FCT.   Likewise, customers have discovered the unique capabilities of NanoSlic-coated stencils and have noted marked print process improvements.

Harris Corporation Engineer, Nazeeh Chaudry, says the company has had striking results through the use of NanoSlic-coated stencils.  “Our yield on 15.7 mil (0.4 mm) pitch QFNs went to 100% just by changing to NanoSlic-coated stencils,” he explains.  “Solder paste deposits have brick-like definition and are precise and repeatable on QFNs and other fine-pitch components.”

“The growth of NanoSlic has been incredible,” comments Nolan in summary, “and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  While the coating chemistry is making a huge difference for PCB assembly processes, NanoSlic’s applications extend far outside the confines of the electronics industry.  It’s going to be an exciting journey.”

FCT Assembly to Showcase Comprehensive Product Line and have Major Presence at SMTA International

FCT Assembly (www.fctassembly.com), well-known in the electronics assembly industry for its Fine Line Stencil and FCT Solder divisions, will highlight its broad portfolio of products at SMTA International 2015 (www.smta.org/smtai/), as well as take part in the conference program and live process demonstrations on the show floor.

From booth # 313 over September 29 and 30, the FCT exhibit will play host to the company’s stencil products, solder materials and NanoSlic™ stencil coatings.  At its foundation, the company is a chemistry formulation expert and this know-how has informed the development of some major industry breakthroughs, which show delegates are invited to discuss with the FCT team.

NSPress3A major highlight of the FCT exhibit is its market-leading stencil coating, NanoSlic.  The revolutionary product has quickly emerged as the premiere coating technology for improved solder paste transfer efficiency, reduced underscreen cleaning requirements and overall printing yield improvements.  Visitors can learn more about NanoSlic’s process advantages and also see a NanoSlic-coated Fine Line stencil in action at the “Inspection Experience”, where live printing and inspection of ultra-fine pitch deposits will take place throughout the two days of the SMTA International exhibit.  Located at the show floor entrance, the Inspection Experience’s goal is to guide attendees through the printing, reflow and inspection processes and analyze common print and reflow challenges.

In addition to its show floor presence, FCT will also participate in the event’s conference program, during which findings from its latest development project — a new flux formulation – will be shared.  Tony Lentz, FCT Assembly Field Application Engineer, will present a paper entitled “Formulation of a New Liquid Flux for High Temperature Soldering” as part of the “The How’s and Why’s of Fluxes in Electronics Assembly” session set to take place on September 29th from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. The paper underscores the need for fluxes that can accommodate thermally demanding applications where long contact times and soldering temperatures of up to 290°C are the norm, allowing for good hole fill and minimizing bridging and other defects.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, send an e-mail to jglanzer@fctassembly.com.

FCT and Fine-Line Stencil Expand Market Presence with New Facility in Guadalajara, Mexico

FCT Companies, a leading chemistry, electronic stencil and specialty manufacturing business, announces the official opening of its new state-of-the-art facility in Guadalajara, Mexico.   While FCT has long had a significant presence in Mexico through sales, service and distribution, the company’s Fine-Line Stencil operation in Guadalajara marks its first manufacturing site in the region and is a noteworthy addition to the broad FCT offering.

The leading-edge, 13,000 square foot FCT Mexico facility will provide multiple electronics assembly products and services including precision laser cut stencils from FCT’s Fine-Line Stencil division, as well as  the company’s revolutionary stencil coating, NanoSlic™.  With its customer base in Mexico expanding quickly, establishing regional product supply will enable FCT to better serve its customers with local support and fast delivery.

“FCT’s investment in this facility now offers customers in the Mexican region more immediate access to our advanced products and processes,” notes Brent Nolan, Vice-President of FCT Companies.  “FCT’s understanding of material behavior and stencil performance for today’s miniaturized assemblies is exceptional and our approach is holistic.  Integrating stencil manufacturing, transfer efficiency-enhancing stencil coatings and next-generation solder materials provides a comprehensive solution for today’s increasingly challenging printing applications.”

Precision stencil manufacturing at the site is managed by Fine-Line Stencil, which is wholly owned by FCT and already firmly established as the leading stencil provider in North America with multiple locations throughout the United States.  This new facility will offer a variety of stencil products including stainless steel mesh-mounted stencils, VectorGuard® High-Tension foils, fine-grain stainless steel stencils and nickel blanks. All are also available with the FCT-developed NanoSlic coating, proven to improve solder paste transfer efficiency and extend the number of prints between cleaning cycles.   NanoSlic is changing conventional perceptions of Area Ratio rules by enabling ample material volumes to be printed through highly miniaturized aperture dimensions.

“The introduction of NanoSlic has completely changed the stencil business and has, in fact, contributed significantly to Fine-Line’s notable growth in recent years,” says Nolan.   “Greater than one third of the stencils that leave our Memphis, Tennessee facility are coated with NanoSlic.  We continue to see this percentage increasing as more of our facilities integrate NanoSlic coating equipment – a capability the Mexico facility now offers.”

NanoSlic is a hydrophobic (repels water), oleophobic (repels oil), durable, permanent coating that is applied via a proprietary application technique to both the underside of the stencil and inside the aperture walls.  The coating helps improve solder paste transfer efficiency by as much as 40% on challenging area ratios and increases the number of prints before required understencil cleaning.  In addition to its proven performance advantage for stencils, NanoSlic is also electrically insulating and is used successfully as a coating to safeguard assembled printed circuit boards against water and corrosion.

Commenting on the significance of this expansion, FCT Mexico Sales Director Sergio Juarez says, “Customers in Mexico are very excited about the addition of FCT’s full-service technical center in this region.  Not only can they source product more quickly, but they will also have the opportunity to participate in process technology days, leverage the expertise of our team and utilize the facility for development projects. It’s a win-win.”

FCT’s Guadalajara, Mexico facility is fully operational and is producing advanced stencils for customers in the region.  For more information, contact Sergio Juarez via e-mail (sjuarez@fctassembly.com) or by phone on +52 (33) 3164-0599.

www.fctassembly.com

Printing Process Expert Tony Lentz Speaking at Colorado Technical Event

Just less than 70% of all production related issues are traced back to the printing process. PCB 101 will address critical issues to consider for defect free and reliable solder paste printing.

Who should attend?
Quality engineers, manufacturing engineers, design engineers, engineering managers, process engineers, buyers and engineering students.
Click for more details

This informative session will focus on:

Screen Printing Considerations
Lisa Collins-Sheffield, Speedline

50-70% of the end of the line defects stem from poor printing processes. Some factors that control the performance of the solder paste printing process include quality of the printing machine itself, solder paste, stencil, room environment, support tolling and under stencil cleaning must be optimized and monitored to achieve consistent, high quality printing results. This presentation will cover the important aspects of the solder paste printing process and how to improve the overall process.

Nano Coatings
Tony Lentz, FCT Assembly

Nano coatings have been introduced by various manufacturers, with the promise of addressing some of the challenges relative to solder paste printing. Stated benefits include: reduced underside cleaning, reduced bridging, improved solder paste release, etc. How can the performance be quantified?

Stencil Design
Dr. Bill Coleman, PhotoStencil

Stencil designs come in various configurations and styles depending upon the type and pitch of the components being assembled. Aperture design is only a part of the stencil design. When there is a mix of SMD devices, small pitch/large pitch, and large discrete devices, etc., it is difficult to satisfy paste volume requirements wit a singe thickness stencil.

Stencil Cleaning
Patty Chonis, kolb Cleaning Technologies

A large percentage of printing errors can be traced back to partially clogged apertures left by inadequate cleaning. With increased market pressure to produce higher quality products at lower prices, high production yields are required. Today, the stencil cleaning process is considered a value added procedure, and is more than just the absence of solder paste in the stencil apertures. In addition, the use of safe chemistries, zero discharge and water free processes to reduce the environmental impact are also primary concerns.

Where:
Blackfox
701 Delaware Ave.
Longmont, CO 80501

When:
May 13th, 2015
9:00AM-3:00PM

Cost:
Member $35 / Nonmember $40
Student $5
Lunch Provided

Click here for more details or to RSVP

FCT Assembly Exhibiting Advanced Printing Technology at SMTA Michigan

The total product range for electronics conglomerate FCT Assembly will be on show at next week’s SMTA Michigan Expo.  With integrated technology expertise from stencils to coatings to novel chemistry development, FCT’s knowledge of material behavior is unmatched.

Why attend?
The Michigan Expo offers 65+ exhibiting companies, numerous networking opportunities,FREE technical presentations, and a FREE lunch!

When: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
Where: Laurel Manor, Livonia, MI
Show Hours: 10:00am-3:00pm
FREE Lunch: 12:00 pm

Want to schedule an appointment or learn more? Call Greg Smith at (972) 897-1199.
 
Visit FCT Assembly Booth
SMTA Michigan Chapter Expo
Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
Laurel Manor
39000 Schoolcraft Rd
Livonia, MI 48150