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Technical solutions for RF products.

Advanced CEM, provides its technical capability to support the manufacture of RF PCB products, using its solder jet printing technology to exceed production yields and customer expectations.

Gemini Tec now provide its manufacturing services to a leading UK company that specialise in the design and manufacture of solid state, high-power microwave and RF amplifiers, with a requirement to build high reliability products for global deployment.

The initial challenges with manufacturing one particular product, was restricted due to the requirement of the PCBA to use a packaged discrete transistor (90-W RF Power GaN HEMT) manufactured by Cree, and mounted within a board cavity.

Connection of the device to the substrate was paramount to performance, and previous attempts to use traditional paste dispensers had led to poor yield through intermittent connection during the reflow process.

Using a state-of-the-art Mycronic solder paste jet printer, Gemini Tec were able to approach the production process from a completely new direction.

With the ability to dispense paste into cavities, the MY500 printer was configured to not only paste standard SMT parts, but also create custom paste typography within the cavity, whilst maintaining a single pass through the SMT line.

Using jet printing allowed each and every pad to see a unique solder paste deposit, See fig 1, the solder paste deposits for all boards are automatically created to ensure the typical production errors are removed, and a lean process is achieved. These errors range from as 'floating' QFN devices and bill boarding of discrete part's, through to 3D cavities and the assembly of PoP devices.

Achieving consistency across the pasted area allowed the device to make complete surface contact, removing voids and co-planarity placement constraints.

As this process is completed with a single pass through the solder jet printing system and automated SMT line, any additional handling or unique processing is removed, allowing a cost effective price point to be achieved. The manufacturing process includes a highly accurate and controlled reflow process, using a BTU Pyramax reflow oven.

Inspection for compliance to IPC class 3 is completed with the use of in house X-ray, together with the latest multi camera Mirtec MV3 AOI inspection system.The company now has three AOI systems in operation, having recently commissioned its second MV3 system. The adoption of five cameras to each AOI machine has delivered a wealth of new advantages for PCBA inspection, over traditional single lens camera systems that have a limited field of view.

The product is now manufactured regularly in batches of 250 units. And with solder jet printing requiring no set up and re-engineering time, the product can be built with reliability and yields of 100%.

Gemini Tec provides a range of CEM solutions to manufacture surface mount and complex surface mount PCB assemblies, supplying to a diverse range of customers in the UK. Gemini works closely with its customers, often at trusted supplier status, to provide both rapid prototypes and batch production.

With a newly configured factory and over 50 employees, the company has seen a rise in demand for the 'different' type of service it provides. Not only does the company have the capability to design and manufacture demanding PCB products, its long term commitment to customer satisfaction is widely apparent, with numerous customers having been engaged with Gemini Tec successfully for well over 10 years.

If you require a technical solution for surface mount technology, contact Gemini Tec directly to see how they we can help your company.

Author
Gemini Tec Ltd

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