The art of screen-printing has long been a mainstay in PCB production, used in many processes from applying etch and plating resists over the copper surface, through to the application of solder and peelable resists and of course, legend or ident inks.
It’s probably fair to say that, as technology has advanced over the years, screen printing use has declined. This is probably due to the technological demands of PCB design out weighing screen-print capabilities. As an example, it would be extremely difficult to apply a direct Solder Resist image onto a modern PCB design containing lots of Surface Mount pads with the same kind of accuracy and definition that Photo-imageable resists give us.
PCB production printing process options
At Hi-5 Electronics, inkjet printing has superseded screen printing in the majority of cases for applying legend or ident ink although as yet, screen printing is still used for customers who prefer a different colour to white.
Peelable resists are still applied using screen-print materials but I would be interested to know of anyone using other methods.
I can remember years ago when both etch and plating resists were successfully applied using screen-printing inks although now, of course, the dry film is used exclusively for these PCB production processes.
Here at Hi-5 Electronics, we have 2 semi-automatic printers and 2 manual beds for our screen-printing operations with the chief screen-print operative, Rick, looking after things in that department!
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