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How to choose from the widest portfolio of surface finishing?

How to correctly choose the surface finishing of printed circuit boards? Whilst previously it was just enough to protect the board against corrosion and the base for all adjustments was plain copper, customers nowadays are able to select from a wide selection of various options. There are ever increasing demands on a higher frequency, extended lifespan and generally better resistance of materials. New technologies also enable boards designers a higher thickness of joints and smaller distances between individual components. In Gatema, at this time only, six different options of surface finishing are being offered. Unleaded and leaded HAL, immersion silver, immersion gold, chemical tin or galvanic nickel and gold.

Acquisition of Kubatronik? A giant leap for us

It it's still one of the most remarkable pieces of news of this year in the field of printed circuit boards production. The Boskovice-based company Gatema announced the acquisition of a German-based company Kubatronik. It is still not quite usual a Czech company buys a German one. Let alone quite a significant one. Kubatronik is not any small fish but a traditional European player with its history reaching back to 1980. Moreover, the company has been focusing in the last couple years on the production of complex boards (especially flex or rigid flex) for high tech industries such as aviation, military for medicine. We have discussed the gradual takeover, integration and merging with the director of Gatema PCB a.s. company Mr. Zdeněk Cápal.

Filling in gaps? With non-conductive paste and galvanic copper

The production of printed circuit boards is a fairly stable business. After all, major part of the production process is directly dependent on chemical and physical processes which are largely quite hard to bypass. That is the reason why flaws are being sought after in all the processes around it – in the implementation system, in optimization of capacity usage, in replacing older machines with new ones, in improving particular technologies. This was the topic of our discussion with Mr. Michal Horni, R&D Manager for Gatema PCB company. A company that is even in European standards considered to be the leader in the sphere of speed production of prototype printed circuit boards.

IPC Class 3 has already been with us for quite some time, but officially now only since September

There are situations when the printed circuit boards need to perform its best in extremely difficult conditions. Usually in those when there is zero room for the smallest flaw or failure - typically in industries such as aviation, astronautics, medicine or automobile industry. That is why customers from such industries already today require practically exclusively PCBs qualifying for the IPC class 3 certification – a standard of a board undergoing in its entire production process several inspections and testing procedures. His industry expertise is shared with us by Mr. Zdenek Capal, a chairman of Gatema PCB a.s. company that is one of the top European leaders in the area of printed circuit boards production and thanks to its January acquisition of a German company Kubatronik it also frequently delivers highly advanced circuit boards for top global players in the industry.

Technology measuring photosynthesis. From Czechia all the way to Harvard, Princeton or NASA

There are great stories. And some are being written on very inconspicuous places. One of them is Drasov - a small town near Brno. And here, a company called Photon System Instruments (PSI) is headquartered, in one of the quiet streets of the town. The company supplies its measuring devices to the most renowned and prestigious institutions on the planet such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or Harvard or Princeton universities. The company has daughter companies and affiliates all over the world and distributors on all continents with the exclusive exception of the Antarctic. That is a good reason enough to interview Mr. Ladislav Hronek who has been working for the company since the beginning of the century.

Why are flexible PCB such a trend?

If you look at the world of technologies around us he will soon begin to discover that in the recent years practically all technologies got much smaller, lighter and are way more flexible than ever before. And it is the customers' demand after such suitable products that are easier to store and more effective that is behind that big trend of flexible technologies in the field of production of printed circuit boards. And this is what we were discussing with Mr. Stepan Prichystal from Gatema PCB a.s. company that has build its excellent reputation in the recent years and nowadays exports printed circuit boards to practically every country in Europe.

Why go for immersion silver?

In recent months, the final finish, using one of the most popular precious metals, has gained traction. Why now?

How not to make a mistake when I want my board in time

Who has ever worked with printed circuit boards knows really well how easy it might be to make a mistake somewhere along the process. And how many boards might have some of the flaws - caused by technology, chemistry, machinery or even staff - that prevent the boards from leaving the production hall. With so many details one need to consider we then usually have tendencies to forget about the single most fundamental first question that we should be asking. And that is: is the addressed manufacturer going to be able to produce a board that I have just designed?

Speeding up production? New production line for non-conductive paste will also help

When trying to meet the deadlines, these days usually every minute counts towards it. Therefore Michal Horni constantly seeks blind spots throughout the entire printed circuit boards production process that could save a bit of precious time between putting the board into production and its logistics back to the customer.

We develop our own applications for production support

Willingness, high-quality and first-class speed. These are the three basic ingredients from which the Boskovice company Gatema prepares its “business cocktail”. In case you have not heard of them yet it is not advisable to underestimate its abilities as lately it has become one of the top European producers of prototype printed circuit boards and has recently caught up our attention as a purely Czech company being able to realize the acquisition of a well known German high-tech producer PCB Kubatronik.