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A manufacturer of printed circuit boards (PCBs) has invested in a Venture Plus, CNC multi-sensor, co-ordinate measuring machine from Baty to improve the quality of its inspection process.

Teknoflex is a UK-based supplier of flexible and flex-rigid multilayer circuits and assemblies.

Flex and flex-rigid circuits are used in numerous industry sectors including defence, aerospace, medical, automotive, industrial, plus the domestic consumer field.

A typical single-sided flexible circuit is produced by taking a copper clad dielectric film, such as polyimide or polyester, then drilling, imaging, etching and bonding a coverlay, then finally profiling in order to create the finished circuit.

The coverlay, which is usually of the same dielectric material as the base stock, will have been drilled or pierced as necessary, in order to facilitate component attachment, before being bonded to the etched circuit.

The exposed copper features of flexible circuits are usually protected by one of the conventional surface finishes, for example, tin, nickel gold and so on.

They usually have printed notation and frequently have local stiffeners or rigidisers.

Flexible circuits are used as an interconnect solution offering point-to-point connection.

Technoflex ceased manufacturing rigid printed circuit boards in 1983.

Consequently, all company resources were focused on to flexible circuit design, manufacturing and associated assembly.

Company products include flexible printed circuits, sculptured circuits, sculptured jumpers, multilayer flex and flex-rigid multilayer.

In addition to its production plant, Technoflex invests heavily in inspection equipment.

Typical of the investments made by Technoflex, within the field of quality control, is the recently installed Venture Plus, CNC multi-sensor, co-ordinate measuring machine, from Baty International.

Keith Netting, Technoflex technical director, said: ‘Our increased levels of production meant that the potential for inspection bottle necks became possible.

‘To ensure that our inspection function could continue to keep pace with production, we investigated the available technology.

‘Now in regular use, the new Baty machine has relieved the pressure on our quality department and is making a significant contribution to ensuring the quality of our output.

‘Our Venture CNC machine has helped to automate a multitude of company inspection process, previous time-consuming precise measuring routines can now be completed in a fraction of the time.

‘By following a straightforward teach-and-repeat process, our operators are able to programme new parts and measure subsequent batches in an automatic mode.

‘By simply measuring a part once, the Baty machine creates a full CNC program automatically.

‘The unit’s zoom lens can also be controlled so that magnification changes can be written and recorded into each program.

‘Although a choice of models was available, we selected the Venture option with a measuring range of 640mm x 600mm x 250mm.

‘This size of machine proved to be the optimum capacity for our needs as we are now able to load either one-off parts or multiple components for fully automatic measuring routines,’ he added.

Baty’s Venture Plus range of multi-sensor CNC co-ordinate measuring machines provides the user with precise optical measurement and offers a Renishaw TP20 touch probe measuring facility.

Measurements from data points taken using the touch probe can be combined with those taken using video edge detection for convenience, accuracy and reduced inspection times.

A probe changer rack can be installed so that probe modules fitted with a variety of pre-calibrated styli can also be used in the same inspection routine.

When a change of stylus is required, the system automatically puts the current probe module back in the rack and picks up the next to continue the inspection process.

The unit’s bridge-type construction is all aluminium, resulting in low inertia and low thermal mass.

Air bearings are used on all axes, while a granite Y beam is used for increased accuracy.

The machine expands and contracts uniformly with temperature changes ensuring minimal distortion and potential for errors.

Ambient temperature can also be compensated for within the Fusion software, making Venture Plus suitable for use on the shop floor.

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