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Electronics news

Types of printed circuit board silkscreening

Several silkscreening methods are commonly used in the production of printed circuit boards. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and their use depends largely on the specific PCB design requirements.

Liquid Photo Imaging (LPI). A photosensitive liquid epoxy resin is applied to a printed circuit board and then exposed to UV light through a film with the printed pattern. When exposed to light, the epoxy resin hardens to form the image.

The LPI process is known for its high resolution and accuracy. However, the process is labor intensive and expensive, requiring specialized equipment and trained personnel, which increases the cost of production.

Unlike LPI, DLP utilizes inkjet technology to print images on the PCB using CAD software. One of the main advantages of DLP is speed and efficiency. The DLP process significantly reduces production time. In terms of quality, DLP produces fairly detailed images, although it cannot match the high resolution provided by the LPI process. However, for many PCB designs, the quality provided by DLP is more than sufficient.

Manual screen printing. Involves the use of a fine mesh screen to transfer the print to the PCB. First, a layer of photosensitive emulsion is applied to the surface and exposed to light through a film with a silkscreen pattern. The emulsion is then washed off and ink is applied, passing through a stencil onto the PCB.

Inkjet printing. An inkjet printer is used to apply the silkscreen.

Laser engraving. A silkscreen is burned onto the circuit board using a laser.