HPTec: A New Test Platform for Backer Boards

Posted Jan 5th, 2021

I love it when two companies we represent come together and offer a synergistic solution. Our Drill company HPTec have come up with a test platform to evaluate  the various types of backup materials. And of course, this applies to our own backer board TFE’s Spire Bluboard. Take a look at the write up below and then  make sure to call us to learn how you can take advantage of this innovative test platform.

HPTec created a test platform to evaluate different types of backup materials available to PCB fabricators including TFE’s Spire Bluboard. Typical backup material used for PCB drilling is a flat, hard surface. It should have a small particle size and a solid consistency. Within the basic types, a large price difference exists. The most common backup material is made from assorted wood fibers glued together. It is relatively inexpensive, and the wood composition enables ease of disposal.

The reason for the use of backup material is to provide a suitable exit material for the drill as it passes through the PCB and enables it to stop short of the drill bed, it also actively reduces exit burrs on the lower panel.  The quality of the backing material used affects drill wear which in turn affects the finished hole wall quality.

Bluboard is a unique back-up material for the use in drilling printed circuit boards.

It is mainly composed of clean virgin wood fiber, with a thin layer of super hard high temperature resins. A drill wear test was performed using nine of the more commonly used backup materials.  After drilling 3000 hits using the same standard depth, speed and chip load infeed parameters, the drills were examined under a microscope revealing varying results.

The drill wear caused from drilling the backup material only was extreme to say the least for some types of backup material. Many drill bits had severe edge chipping and rounding of the cutting edge. The test results showed that many of the more common types of backup material will produce excessive drill wear, effectively shortening the life of the tools. The Spire Bluboard backup material sold by TFE showed almost no drill bit edge degradation during the test. Try a test for yourself.