Electra Makes The Difference

Posted Jun 15th, 2022

Electra solder mask can make the critical difference when it comes to ink jet printing. Over the years they have partnered with a number of ink jet printer companies and found the best ink solution for all of them. If you are ready to utilize this cutting edge, time-saving technology, make sure you use Electra.

Solder mask has been a critical material and feature of printed circuits for decades. Interestingly, one industry veteran has stated that its original purpose was more related to saving solder and keeping board weight down than dealing with shorts because the distance between traces and component leads were much greater in the early days.

With lead pitches on components now commonly below 0.5 mm, solder mask has a much more important role and that is to accurately define component terminations or “lands” In former times (and in some cases still today) solder mask was early on typical applied using a screening process, followed soon after by a photo-imaging process where lands were exposed by a development process. However, owing to their versatility and digital programmability and being a single step process, inkjet technology is rapidly supplanting earlier methods to make the process cleaner and more reliable.    

Because ink jet technology came first, it became the task of polymer makers to develop polymer inks that not only met industry solder mask standards - including mechanical, chemical, physical, and thermal for solder mask performance -  but it made certain they were also compatible with inkjet printing tools adapted to the needs of the printed circuit industry.

This has been the charter and objective of Electra polymers from the start.  Given there are presently over half a dozen inkjet head providers that often do the same thing but differently, development has been challenging, but Electra has proven themselves up to the task. There are, unsurprisingly, a litany of concerns to be addressed in developing and refining masks for the different machines and their different requirements in terms of viscosity, pigment article size, surface tension, spreading, bleeding track edge thinning and many more.

With the experience gained to date, Electra can help to identify and employ the right mask for your chosen printer. For those interested in learning, in more detail, about steps been taken by Electra to create the successful inks they have available, they gave an excellent presentation at the EIPC Winter Conference in February 2020. If you would like a copy, kindly let us know.

We know that there are choices “out there”, but we feel that Electra’s ink jet printable solder mask solutions are top of that list.