In an effort to address the changing needs of one of their customer bases, that of PCB manufacturers, Camtek has been in the process of testing an innovative new 3D printer rigorously — with very promising results.
The benefits of the Gryphon, Camtek’s new 3D printer which uses inkjet technology, would be difficult to argue with, indeed. The future looks brighter for those manufacturing PCBs, as soon they may be able to delegate more time to the challenge of innovating, and less time to the challenge of utilitarian tasks like printing.
Camtek’s customer base consists of the largest PCB manufacturers in the world, as well as leading semiconductor manufacturers and subcontractors. Their development of core competencies in image acquisition and image processing is what sets them apart globally. With the Gryphon, Camtek is using the process of direct deposition in applying solder mask to circuit boards, which are constantly evolving and becoming more complex, thus presenting a greater challenge to manufacture efficiently.
Operating in a method that produces greater precision and cost-effectiveness, the direct deposition process applies the solder mask only where it is needed, eliminating the extra step of having to spray product on and then wash it off.
The direct deposition process also eliminates waste of product, thus saving on the bottom line. With the Gryphon, failure caused by improper deposition is eliminated, as direct deposition applies the solder mask specifically. This is a major necessity today; there simply isn’t room for failure as PCBs have all at once become more complicated, state-of-the-art, and smaller, made up of:
- Hundreds of individual components
- Multiple layers of copper conductors
- Fire retardant insulators
- Multiple plated thru-holes and connectors
- Single, double, or multi-layer sides
With the Gryphon’s direct deposition process, the complex PCB should be able to stay intact and the whole process should become less stressful and hassle-free without constant threat of failure during printing. The printer is smaller and will take up less space than the normal amount of equipment, and will only require one operator. With less space, less utilities, less manpower, and less funds needed for allocation in the area of manufacturing PCBs, businesses are freed up to put their assets into innovation and employee resources elsewhere.
It’s expected, logically, that with a product lowering price while raising productivity, Camtek’s Gryphon will do very well in the marketplace offering a more sophisticated technique for a more optimal outcome. It has passed ‘high volume beta testing’ and surpassed technical requirements. In an industry that is very competitive, the Gryphon should be a stand-out product that has the potential to raise the bar in manufacturing of PCBs.
Camtek is an international company with offices worldwide, and headquarters in Israel and Hong Kong. They have an office in Santa Clara, CA, and have recently opened a center for PCB manufacturers to ‘demo’ the Gryphon in Orange County.
Are you involved in manufacturing PCBs? If so, in what capacity? How do you think Camtek’s Gryphon will change the face of making PCBs? Tell us about it in the Camtek Gryphon 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.