Orbotech’s Latest Technology at IPC APEX EXPO

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Matties: Well, you mentioned the word "flexibility.” I think in North America that's absolutely key, as well as process setup time. I would think the ability to switch from one product to the next in the simplest and shortest fashion possible would be a big demand.

Perlman:  You’re absolutely right. You need flexibility to be able to make changes quickly and easily, and to serve the needs of different products or different applications. This is precisely the concept behind digital products, and this is what we offer. Direct imaging and inkjet printers are digital products— there is no need to prepare a film or a glass master or a screen mask. Load the new job design and start the new product imaging or printing immediately.

Matties: Back to the R&D and the investment that you're making. A huge conversation in the industry is the 3D printing of printed circuits. It seems to me that the technology that you have, when you look across the product line, makes you a company well-suited to take on that particular market segment. It certainly is a segment that is growing in our industry.

What do you think about the 3D printing market and how does that affect Orbotech? When you look at a company like Nano Dimension focusing on 3D printing of circuit boards, which is also right out of Israel, does that look like the infancy of things to come?

Perlman: Israel is actually very strong in inkjet printing, in general. Orbotech is a leading inkjet supplier for the PCB industry and we are evaluating different printing technologies, including inkjet, for new opportunities in the printing electronics market. As far as the area of 3D inkjet printing for PCB, we obviously follow what Nano Dimension is doing. After all, we are neighbors and the geographical distance between our offices is no more than 10 miles.

But, we do not compete with Nano Dimension.  They are actually addressing the in-house prototyping needs of the electronics design centers and less focused on mass production. I think there's still a long way to go with 3D printing as far as reliability and adaptability to PCB market needs.

Matties: Let’s talk about the new technology Orbotech is presenting here.

Perlman: Sure. As I said, this is a very unique technology which we call automated optical shaping or AOS. If there is a missing copper area on the PCB pattern on tracks or on pads, we have the technology to save the PCB  by analyzing the area and adding copper using a local copper deposition. It is a very unique and new technology.

Matties: It sounds a lot like 3D printing! [Laughs]

Perlman: It is, but it's very local deposition on a small and specific area and not a pattern printing.

Matties: Is this a derivative of your AOR (automated optical repair) system?

Perlman: You could say so, it's a revolutionary, complementary technology to the AOR technology. The AOR, which we developed in the past, is a solution for shaping excess copper. We can identify excess copper, and use laser ablation to remove it.

The new technology can automatically identify where copper is missing and can complete it. It adds the copper and shapes and builds the track to its original design.

Matties: You're salvaging what otherwise would be in the scrap pile, right?

Perlman: Exactly. Now we not only have the capability to save scrap PCBs with excess copper, but we have the technology to save those with missing copper as well.

Matties: Have you already placed this into the production environment? Or is this brand new?

Perlman: This is brand new. It's a new technology that we have been developing for a long time and it will be integrated into products in the future. We are in the testing stage of the technology and so far we have had very promising results.

Matties: Congratulations, and thank you so much for spending time with us today, Micha. This was great.

Perlman: You're welcome.



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