PLATE FOR PRECISION: ECD tools from Kinetics

Raise the standard in plating

Asking plating engineers to define “success” in electroplating yields a range of responses. Some focus on consistency from run-to-run, shift-to-shift, and even across lines and dispersed facilities. Others zero in on uptime availability, yields or cost efficiency. Nearly all rate some level of quality as either being assumed, desired or required.

Kinetics has incorporated all of these factors into its ECD systems—along with a belief that higher standards provide some level of buffer attached to variability in the overall process, including substrates and materials feeding the electroplating function. As such, three factors remain attached to achieving higher quality standards with predictable consistency.

STANDARD-RAISING FACTOR #1: CREATING AND MAINTAINING A PRISTINE PLATING ENVIRONMENT

This is a challenging endeavor, as the very nature of plating introduces a significant number of variables into a closed environment that undergoes continuous change during the process. Whether for advanced packaging, semiconductor, photovoltaic, compound semi, data storage, medical device or biofluidics applications, it takes higher-level engineering to bring order to this physical space.

As such, Kinetics carefully evaluates how the environment undergoes a metamorphosis in each process step, and what it requires to return to stasis between cycles and production runs. Only by managing the system toward a meaningful reset between processes can integrity be delivered, yields reach targets, and waste be minimized.

STANDARD-RAISING FACTOR #2: DEPLOYING AUTOMATION TO GREATEST EFFECT

Some stages and steps can be executed in manual or semiautomatic settings. Others, given either their complexity or inherent safety concerns, are best suited to higher levels of automation. The economics attached to the spectrum of options can be nearly overwhelming, and lead to guesswork fueled by exasperation.

Kinetics steps forward with standard models as well as the provision for customized systems. That’s because the level of functional automation is not an “automatic” set of specifications. Knowing when and where to invest is of great consequence when a higher standard is the enterprise goal.

STANDARD-RAISING FACTOR #3: INTEGRATING PROCESSES TO PROMOTE FLOW

It should come as no great surprise: Improved flow between processes, stages and steps is a precursor to higher quality standards. That’s because time, energy and budgets can be focused on elevated results versus making a line viable. One strategy is to unify more of the plating technology around a single manufacturer’s platform.

Kinetics has been part of this integration thinking and process design, with some systems ending up as a hybrid of standard tools and custom engineering. By removing obstacles to clear transitions between stages and steps, the company has seen noteworthy improvements in throughput, and more ability to maintain higher standards.

ECD tools are vital to meeting production expectations—but only if they are selected, operated and maintained with pristine environments, intentional automation and process flow as central considerations. To learn more, click HERE.