CORPORATE

Buyer's Guide


Evaluate PCB Fabricators on a line item basis.

 PROCESS INDUSTRY STANDARD SATURN ELECTRONICS
 INNER LAYER ETCH

      inner_layer_etch


Most Fabricators do not have a dedicated inner layer etching process.  Instead they use their outer layer etching line which requires 2 full-time Operators and  Leader Boards for thin core transport.

Newly-installed (2020) Develop-Etch-Strip (DES) line featuring thin core handling to enable complete automation down to 0.001" flex cores without leader boards.  Full-time operator no longer required as new line features a loader, cover sheet remover, and unloader. Capable of producing 300 1oz cores per hour.  Furthermore, this line has a vacuum etching option that minimizes top-to-bottom etch variation.

 INNER LAYER INSPECTION

  inner_layer_inspection

Visual inspection by personnel using a light table.

Saturn augments its visual inspection process by utilizing visual inspection equipment.

We recently installed 2-Camtek Phoenix HDI AOI systems for scanning high-density, complex PCBs. The system's new optical technology provides flexible light coverage by combining a superior image with customizable detection requirements.

The Phoenix HDI’s cutting-edge image acquisition and advanced software capabilities provide exceptional detection and impressive non-critical defects ratio. 

 MULTILAYER LAMINATION

multilayer-lamination

Presses 2000 or prior vintage; manual loading and unloading; layup and breakdown area often shared. 5,000 square foot Mutlilayer Lamination Center contains three 10-opening Burkle PC-controlled lamination systems. 

This is one of the most automated Multilayer Lamination room in North America.

 COPPER LAMINATE

copper-laminate

Multiple sheet sizes that are sheared to size in-house.

Single 18"x24" panels with saw-cut edges reduce contamination in subsequent processes (e.g., imaging, testing, etc.).  This also reduces set up times and variation associated therein.

 DRILLING

    drilling

Drilling machine that requires tools to be changed manually.

Maximum panel sizes are typically 18” x 24”.

No control in Z-axis, +/- 0.002” hole position accuracy.

Our lowest-end PCB drilling machines are Excellon Century 2001 drillers. All of these machines are equipped with automatic measurement systems that measure drill bit length, diameter, spindle runout, and broken drill bit detection.

Essentially, these capabilities remove the human element from these drilling issues, thereby minimizing the chance of operator error. SEC has also installed Schmoll and Mania Micronics drilling machines incorporating the industry’s latest linear motion technology and 180k RPM high speed spindles. The use of linear motion increases hole position accuracy from an industry standard of +/- 0.002” down to +/- 0.0005”, including in the Z-axis, which makes these ideal for controlled depth blind via drilling.

 IMAGE ROOM

  image_room_pcb

Enclosed room

Saturn has a Class 10,000 square foot Clean Room.

The environment in this room minimizes foreign material from creating common shorts in the imaging process.

Also, strict temperature and humidity controls prevent distortion in the customer artwork.

 IMAGING / EXPOSURE

image-room

Customer artwork is aligned manually by eyeballing the registration of the film to the drilled panel.

Light source is a single point light source, making it not possible to use on fine line images run on production panel sizes.

Automated (inner layers): Saturn also employs the use of an Olec AX-28 automatic exposure unit that uses two cameras to align the top and bottom artwork. This machine can hold registration as tight as +/- .0005 mils front to back for inner layers.

Auto-Alignment (inner and outer layers): Saturn has purchased and installed four Olec AT-30 automatic alignment exposure units. These units use four cameras to align artwork top to bottom, and then use panel motion systems to automatically adjust the panel position to a best fit to the artwork. Furthermore, these units have hybrid-collimated light units that ensure exposure light attacks the panel at 90 degree angles to the artwork, which is critical for fine line resolutions.

Direct Imaging:  Saturn has installed a Laser Direct Imaging system to facilitate fine line imaging and optimum registration on non-rigid materials.

 PLATING (PTH)

plating

Manual dip tanks.

Saturn employs two automatic electroplating lines with both DC and Reverse Pulse capabilities.  Saturn has designed both lines with the intent to minimize plating variation, which is the main goal of production plating. This is accomplished by including the following:

1. Racks that only allow panels to be plated one-high.

2. Anode-to-anode distance is 28 in. (max.  distance for plating).

3. Water-submerged positive cathode contact.

4. Chemical-submerged anode bars for positive contact.

5. Eductor system utilizes a high volume chemical flow instead of air to accomplish chemical agitation.

6. Mechanical agitation to allow chemical to flow through holes.

7. Vibration to remove air from microvias and blind microvias.

8. Dual-sided rectification equalizes Cu plating throughout racks.

9. Advanced rectifiers (2 per rack) with 0.5% max. ripple effect.

10. Panels are now being plated at 11 to 14 amps per square feet (ASF), versus an industry standard of 45 ASF. This will result in more uniform plating, albeit lowered production throughput.

11. High ductile plating meets C7000 1,000-hour cycle tests.

12. Chemistry has been revised so that high-aspect ratio plating can be performed. Both lines are calibrated to plate 10:1 aspect ratio as a standard.

 STRIP ETCH STRIP

ses

Conveyor line capable of 7 mil line / spacing.

The Strip-Etch-Strip automated line incorporates the latest in spray technology to  minimize the effects of chemical puddling.


 LPI SOLDERMASK

lpi-soldermask

Manual tables or AutoRoll machines.

Saturn employs the use of three Argus spray coating lines in less soldermask within holes and eliminates dimple marks on the board surface. 

Furthermore, this process results in a much more uniform soldermask thickness across the product surface area.

 LPI IMAGE

 lpi-image

Customer artwork is aligned manually by eyeballing the registration of the film to the drilled panel.

Automated Registration: Saturn has purchased and installed three Olec AT-30 automatic alignment exposure units. These units use four cameras to align artwork top to bottom, and then use panel motion systems to automatically adjust the panel position to a best fit to the artwork. Furthermore, these units have hybrid-collimated light units that ensure exposure light attacks the panel at 90 degree angles to the artwork, which is critical for fine feature resolution.

 FINAL BAKING

final-baking

Manual convection box ovens.

Saturn has installed a Bassi Tunnel oven to perform final baking.

Since heat is uniformly applied to the boards and the machine controls the cycle time, quality is improved dramatically.

 CLEANING

  precleaning-pcb-fabrication-process

Manual dip tanks.

Saturn has a Hollmuller conveyorized cleaning line in accordance with latest major wet process upgrades made continuously.

 POST-HASL CLEANING LINE

  post-hasl-cleaning

LPI Cleaning line is also used as a post-cleaner.

Standard unit has two 1/2" wide brushes; one 1/2 H.P. chemical and waterpumps; 1/2 gallon per minute nozzles.

All PVC, allowing max constant operating temperature of 120° to 130° C.

Industry standard Post-HASL Cleaning Line contains four chambers.

Saturn designed and built a custom post-HASL cleaning line for the sole purpose of removing the flux from the board's surface. 

This high-pressure, high-temperature post-cleaner is made entirely of stainless steel allowing it to run at 150°F.  Unit can spray regular and D.I. water at 1 to 1.5 gallons per minute at 50 psi using 7.5 HP pumps (1/2 gallon per minute, 20-30 p.s.i., 1.5 HP is the best available on the market).

Furthermore, the cleaner uses 8-1” wide toothbrush-type agitating brushes versus an industry best of 4-0.5” brushes. This custom process has been proven to remove ionic contamination from the surface of PCBs to well below industry standards.

 ELECTRICAL TEST

    electrical-test

Either clam shell tester or single flying probe.

Saturn offers a variety of testing alternatives. First, Saturn has eight Mania double-sided, double-density grid testing machines.

The fixture cost for these testers is half the cost or less than those used in more traditional clam shell testers since we build everything in-house.

Also, Saturn utilizes nine flying probe testers for smaller and prototype orders.

This allows the customer to forego the cost of a hard testing fixture and, instead, pay a modest testing fee.

 CLEANING (Routing)

cleaning-routing

Washer using city water.

Saturn has installed a washer in its shipping department that uses de-ionized (D.I.) water to clean boards.

D.I. water results in a cleaner board; more importantly, it further removes ionic contamination that may have occurred after HASL.

 DUPLICATE PROCESS
  duplicate-process-contingency

Due to cost constraints, many PCB shops will not have duplicate processes.


All of Saturn’s processes incorporate duplicate equipment so that in the case of an equipment failure, Saturn’s production capabilities will not be compromised. 

We also provide contingency by serving as a critical resource to customers on the verge of experiencing line shutdowns due to supply chain gaps prior to product launch or offshore supply chain disruptions.

 ADVANCED CAPABILITIES

  advanced-pcb-capabilities

Minimal / Outsourced

Saturn has grown from a technology standpoint exponentially since 2003.  In-house capabilities include laser drilling, laser routing, PTFE plasma preparation, Plasma treatment and etchback.

Saturn provides fine line and space, controlled impedance, heavy copper, PTFE for RFMW, open and internal cavities, thermal management, heatsinks, HDI microvias, edge plating castellations, semi-flex, rigid-flex and flexible circuits. 

Additionally, Saturn features special project groups to assist customers with critical and technologically demanding products.

 SURFACE FINISHES

surface_finishes

HASL, others outsourced

Examine the facets of Saturn Electronic's surface finish characteristics by reviewing the  comparison charts.  Here is a quick list of the final finishes provided in-house:

  • ENIG
  • HASL
  • Lead-Free HASL
  • OSP
  • Immersion Silver
  • Immersion Gold
  • Immersion Tin
  • Electrolytic Full Body Hard and Soft Gold

 QUALITY CERTIFICATIONS

certification_specifications  

No certification is viewed as standard.

Saturn is certified for the following quality specifications:

  • ISO 9001:15
  • IATF16949:16
  • AS9100D
  • ISO14001:15
  • Delphi C7000
  • ITAR Registered
  • UL Materials

 FINANCIAL

  pcb-finance

No standards available.

Saturn is extremely conservative financially.  Keeping the company healthy is our top priority over shareholder distributions.  SEC has remained debt-free for 35-years. 

  • $0 Bank Debt
  • $0 Accounts Payable
  • $0 Lease obligations
About Us

Domestic PCB Fabricator

Bare printed circuit board manufacturer (NAICS: 334412)
Romulus, MI (since 1985)
(734) 941-8100

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