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Screen printing masks

Screen masks, mesh masks, screens, mlcc printing, ltcc printing, touch panel printing
Screen printing masks

Screen printing mask can be used as an effective tool for production of various electronic components ranging from bio sensors, MLCC capacitors, LTCC ceramic chips, RFID chips, solar cells, printed circuit boards, touch panels, hybrid IC, semiconductor wafers up to large products such as LCD or PDP screens.

Each application requires different conditions. As for the screen mask manufacturing process, the most important factors that influence the screen printing process are:

  • pattern size vs. frame size (fine pattern printing max. 30% of the frame size)
  • screen mesh type (mesh weave, mesh count, material, wire diameter, angle bias, etc.)
  • photosensitive emulsion (emlusion type, emulsion thickness, exposure time, etc.)
  • frame type (aluminium die casted, aluminium extruded, ceramic type, etc.)
  • mesh attaching system (direct mesh to frame or trampoline/combination mask)

However quality of the final print is dependent not only on the screen mask, but also on many other important factors related to the screen printing machine, screen printing paste, squeegee, substrate type and other printing process variables. In total, screen printing quality is greatly affected by individual combination of many variables which needs to be properly adjusted to each application.

Trampoline mask

Trampoline mesh maskScreen mask used for a fine pattern printing is a combination of a high quality materials and precise manufacturing process. Due to the high strength and low elongation of the steel woven wire mesh, our fine screen masks mainly use various types of stainless steel mesh in combination with aluminum frames and our own engineered photo emulsions.

In order to preserve dimensional accuracy and long lifetime, hard steel mesh is used only in the center of the screen. Mask is manufactured as a trampoline mask, or so called combination mesh. Outer side of the mesh acts as a support to absorb the major part of the stress forces caused by the screen printing process, usually a polyester mesh.

Fine screen printing requires the mesh thread diameter to be small, which can influence the strength and dimensional stability of the screen. State of the art Japanese mesh products with high mesh count (500+) and exceptional strength can be used in todays mass production process to print very precise pattern of L/S = 20/20 µm with minimal pattern distortion.

screen-20um
L/S = 20/20 µm
screen-10um
L/S = 10/10 µm

Black screen mask

Definition of the pattern can be further improved by using a surface treated stainless steel mesh. Additional chemical process makes black surface on the mesh thread which reduces random reflection of light during the exposure process, resulting in better adhesion of the emulsion, higher definition of the pattern and very smooth aperture walls for the best possible paste flow.

Black screens provide superior results in straight pattern printing, improving fine line definition and reducing overall dimensional tolerances (e.g. 20µm ± 2µm). This chemical treatment is widely used with calendered screen mesh for stable fine pattern printing in mass production process.

black_screen

One side calender mask

System of calendered mesh had big impact on printing fine patterns. Both sides of the mesh were flattened at their highest point in the weave to reduce mask thickness and improve ink deposit. However in the certain applications with curved patterns this sytem does not provide the best possible performance due to reduced area in the diameter thread.

One side calender mesh has only top side flattened-calendered which greatly improves the final result of the curved pattern prints. There is no hindering the ink flow on the print side while providing low friction benefit on the squeegee side. One side calender unites fine line printing and production productivity. Best choice for RFID and touch panel applications.

one_side_calender_mask

3D screen mask (thick layer screen printing)

Screen mask that uses special 3D mesh, developed to enhance the thick screen printing process where higher ink volume deposit is required. 3D mesh is manufactured with the same mesh openings and wire diameter as conventional wire mesh but by modifying the weaving process. You gain noticeable thicker layers without changing mesh number, basically it is possible to achieve 1.5 times higher deposited thickness comparing to standard products.

3d_screen_mask

Screen mask tests

In order to find a best applicable combination for your request, we ask our customers to send substrate material and electronic version of the requested pattern to our R&D lab in Japan. As a first step, our screen printing engineers will prepare and test several screens in order to find a best way how to print your pattern. Matching product is used to deliver silver paste pattern and we wait for the customer's evaluation. As a second step, we focus on bringing our know-how to your production site and help you to setup all variables for perfect results in your mass production process.

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