Customers who often order PCB prototyping or other PCB manufacturers will notice that the quotation always includes a Laser stencil. Some charge for the stencil and some are free charge. The question is, why a stencil is necessary for PCB manufacturing? What benefits the laser stencil will provide? This article will help customers get a detailed explanation of the confusion.
What are laser stencils and their functions?
A stencil is mainly used for surface mount of PCB assembly, divided into chemical etching, laser cutting, and electroforming according to the manufacturing process. Laser stencil is a unique mold for SMT, and the origin of the name is that laser stencil is made from a thin stainless-steel sheet with openings (apertures) cut by high-precision laser machine.
Besides, there are frame and non-frame stencils to choose from. The frame is for automated and semi-automated stencil machines, and different frame sizes are available. Non-frame is for hand solder, and the size is customized based on customers' demands. Stencil with frame is heavier and bigger than the non-frame stencil. The transportation will be more complexity. The application of laser stencil makes it more precise to transfer the exact amount of solder paste or glue through the apertures to appropriate locations on the printed circuit board.
Advantages of the laser stencil.
The inexorable trend of finer structures and smaller components in PCB assembly gives a higher request to stencils. Laser stencil can meet a shorter delivery time for its easy and fast-speed production process. What' s more, easy to use for operators and high precision with moderate price are its main advantages. Especially after electroplating, laser stencil will be more top quality and better effect. Standard laser stencil is possible to correspond to 0.3mm～0.5mm pitch components and small components such as 0603mm components for high-density printing.
It is well noted that stencils with high manufacturing accuracy, higher wear resistance, and specialized laser cut aperture shape and surface make PCB manufacturer easier to achieve precisely the amount of solder paste and high quality of stencil printing for products with any complexity.
NextPCB provides high-quality laser stencils for customers.
As is well-known, the more precise the SMD stencil, the higher the quality of the PCB assembly. Many manufacturers had to face the problem of speeding up the production process without compromising the quality of the end products. To keep satisfying the high quality while increasing productivity, NextPCB applies stencils cut by laser machine decisively. This allows maximally burr-free cutting results but maintaining the best precision in positioning the openings. The use of a new stencil system can shorten customary delivery times while improving accuracy and productivity.
NextPCB has become the quality standard in PCB manufactures. The cutting of any sharply contoured plate geometries with maximum precision is available. When customized laser stencil is ordered, a vector is needed to create laser cut stencils to ensure the smooth of stencils, and the largest stencil NextPCB can manufacture is 500*1400mm. Usually, multiple stencils will be placed on a 500*1400 mm sheet for saving cost; customers can decide the size of laser stencils according to practical demands.