Summary: 3D Printed C-Lite proven for reflow applications by Trilogy-Net after 50 passes through Vapor Phase Reflow or Conventional Convection Reflow or Wave Soldering and no melting, softening, warping, cracking, or shrinking. C-Lite is the solution for low-volume, non-standard PCB electrostatic discharge (ESD) tooling.

Introduction: Electronic Manufacturing Service (EMS) providers, like most manufacturing operations, are constantly looking to reduce costs and increase throughput. Trilogy-Net Inc. is no different. Since 2000, Trilogy-Net has been a full-service electronics contract manufacturer – researching, investing, and delivering products to demanding markets. They take pride in pushing the limits of manufacturing.

Challenge: Agility is essential for customer-specific applications that require a variety of non-standard components for low-volume production runs. Customers often request custom carriers/pallets to hold printed wiring assemblies during the reflow process. These carriers must protect electronic components from electrostatic discharge and withstand multiple cycles of a high-temperature wave soldering process (245°C). Additional part requirements include:

  • Dimensional and structural stability (absence of warping, twisting, or bending)
  • Constant electrical properties that meet ANSI/ESDA S20.20-2021
  • Chemical compatibility with fluxes used in wave soldering operations

Using traditional manufacturing technologies for fabrication of these components can slow down production and increase cost. Trilogy-Net’s challenge was to quickly fabricate custom ESD components that would withstand numerous thermal cycles.

Solution: Based on these requirements, the high temperature, rigid, ESD material “C-Lite,” which can be processed via additive manufacturing (AM), was the ideal solution.

Figure 1

Mechnano, in partnership with Tethon3D, developed C-Lite to meet the requirements for these types of applications. The resin can be processed on a variety of vat photopolymerization systems. The vat photopolymerization process allows for part fabrication with high accuracy and exceptional surface finish, while taking advantage of design freedom for custom part production.

Mechnano used C-Lite to fabricate a sample carrier (Figure 1) for evaluation. Trilogy-Net ran the part through the Vapor Phase and standard reflow oven and it passed without changes in dimensions or flatness during a single cycle. The part was then put through the reflow oven for a total of 50 cycles, and Trilogy-Net confirmed the absence of softening, cracking, shrinkage, or warping (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Successful flatness test on Reflow Test Part before (right) and after (left) 50 reflow passes.

C-Lite high-temperature ESD resin is the solution for Trilogy-Net’s low-volume, non-standard part requests, allowing them to overcome existing part fabrication constraints.

“This is an exciting development for Trilogy-Net Inc.,” said Trilogy Director of Business Development Dave Yoner. “We were thrilled to see the dimensional stability of the material over 50 cycles in vapour phase reflow, convection reflow and wave soldering. Mechnano-enhanced materials like C-Lite for reflow fixtures and other tooling will help us reduce our cycle times. Our customers will experience ultra-quick turn products and we can increase our market share.”

Conclusion: The electronics industry can be more agile when handling bespoke customer requests by using AM to fabricate ESD parts to support the reflow process.

Contact Mechnano below if you are interested in testing C-Lite for your application needs.