Enabling a dramatic ramp up in overall output
Tewkesbury, UK: Trackwise, a recognised innovator of flexible printed circuit (FPC) technology, continues to strengthen its production capability and capacity by investing in new equipment. The company has installed a highly advanced roll-to-roll direct imaging system and has also invested in a roll-to-roll flexible circuit laser drilling system.
Situated in the manufacturer’s recently commissioned Class 7 cleanroom facility, the new direct imaging system is able to deal with features down to dimensions of just 25µm as well as providing significantly increased throughput. Given that the system is also suitable for use on a much wider range of photo-imageable materials, the investment provides a significant increase in capability and capacity to Trackwise’ length-unlimited FPC manufacturing.
The recently purchased high-power diode-pumped UV laser is capable of processing extremely thin and sensitive FPCs at high throughput, maintaining processing accuracies of ± 20µm over the entire panel area. An advanced web handler compensates for the continual acceleration and deceleration during production avoiding wrinkling and other stretching issues. The drill’s power and precision boosts cycle times, further improving process quality and yield.
This investment, as well as the acquisition of Stevenage Circuits Ltd (SCL) earlier this year, will enable Trackwise to significantly boost its operational throughput and address constantly growing customer interest in FPCs based on its proprietary Improved Harness Technology™ (IHT).
IHT enables the fabrication of ultra-thin FPCs with very fine traces that can meet any potential length requirement. Competing solutions are generally restricted to just a couple of metres. Consequently, Trackwise FPCs represent an attractive alternative to conventional cable harnesses, with substantial weight and space savings being realised, as well as better heat dissipation and heightened reliability.
“The ongoing capital investment we are making into state-of-the-art equipment and cleanroom resources underlines our clear commitment to gaining greater traction for our IHT and high-precision printed antenna solutions,” Philip Johnston, CEO of Trackwise explains. “Through these activities, we are now much better positioned to serve future market opportunities as they arise – supporting greater volume demands, as well as providing enhanced levels of quality.”