A TOTAL APPROACH TO PLATING
Electroplating, whether electroless or electrolytic, aims for near-perfect results in an imperfect world. As with many production processes, the human safety consequences of poorly-engineered electroplating systems are manifold. What’s more, the environmental responsibility attached to precious metal chemistry can’t be under-rated.
All of this must exist in an enterprise setting where tight tolerances, cycle times and material costs are constantly under scrutiny. Kinetics’ success comes from maintaining close relationships with plating engineers. From goal to design to delivery of an electroplating system, key factors remain in the spotlight thanks to their insight. For example:
- Fume removal and precious metal recovery are critical.
- Special fixtures must be designed and build to hold devices securely in place.
Plating engineers are right to demand the convergence of quality, yield, volume and safety in an electroplating system. That’s why Kinetics continues to be a leading choice among discerning process leaders.
Kinetics standard tools support most electroplating process needs. However, should custom plating call for special tooling or material handling, Kinetics’ engineers will design an ECD system to exact specifications, including:
- Automation level
- Power delivery and management
Automate to accelerate
Aeris is Kinetics’ automated ECD plating system. And while high-volume manufacturing is the goal, platform flexibility is built in from the beginning.
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.