ENAL = Use of nano-coated tools in printed circuit board production
Approximately ten percent of the manufacturing costs of a printed circuit board are caused by the mechanical manufacturing processes, drilling and milling. The costs for drilling and milling tools play a not insignificant role. Together with KSG, a Saxon project consortium within the framework of the ENAL project publicly funded by the Sächsische Aufbaubank (SAB) was looking for ways to increase efficiency by significantly increasing the service life of drills by means of an innovative nano-coating of the tool surface.
The two-year project, completed in July 2021, had the following main objectives:
- Significant increase in tool life > 200 % while ensuring the required process and product quality
- Selection and testing of a suitable nano-coating technology
- Optimization of the process parameters of the coating technology
- Development of a machine and plant concept for cost-efficient series nano-coating
As a result of extensive test series, the project consortium was able to develop a coating technology for highly complex PCB mixed assemblies which, compared to uncoated drilling tools, allows a service life increase of up to 400% with unchanged process parameters (speed, feed, return stroke, packaging). The accompanying quality investigations by means of microsection evaluation and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that both a high process reliability in ensuring the product quality and a reliable adhesion of the nano-coating on the tool surface can be guaranteed. The plant concept for fully automated tool coating developed within the scope of the project sets the prerequisite for transferring the project results to economical series production.
The project partners agreed on further bilateral cooperation. Within the scope of these activities, the first promising coating results are to be confirmed again by a further volume test under production conditions.