February 27, 2012
Not all rapid prototyping is done with additive manufacturing (AM). One area that is still just outside the AM realm is printed circuit boards (though maybe not for long). In the meantime, though, we’ll look at another method of creating printed circuit boards (PCB) rapidly.
LPKF is a German company with a line of PBS prototype machines. The Protomat S-Series are bench sized machines designed to be used in-house. Features include automatic tool change, solder paste dispensing and automatic milling depth adjustment. Each machine comes pre-loaded with software to assist with the prototyping process.
Taking a look at a specific member of the S-Series, the Protomat S63 can deploy up to 15 tools automatically, which allows for the machine to run without constant supervision or repeated setup. The S63 can produce isolation lines to 100 µm and is capable of drilling holes to 150 µm. The automatic conical milling offered by the S63 can create different insulation channels varying by depth and, according to the company, still maintain uniform track widths.
The Protomat S63 is designed to build multilayer boards when used alongside a board lamination press (such as the MultiPress S), and can also be used to rework bare boards. Other applications include single and double-sided circuit boards, plated-through holes, routing slots, cut outs and board profile.
According to LPKF, boards created with the S63 can be finished with a solder mask and a printed legend in around 40 minutes by using the company’s ProMask system. The PCB prototyping machines can also be used for precision engraving on materials such as Plexiglas, aluminum, brass and plastic.
LPKF will be showing the Protomat S63 and other PCB prototyping equipment at the AeroCon Exposition. The expo will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas March 14-15.
Below you’ll find a video highlighting the Protomat S-Series.