Why are polyimide labels used for labeling in the PCB manufacturing process?

The electronic manufacturing industry is constantly designing innovative new products and seeking out revolutionary solutions for how to protect and identify them. Printed circuit boards (PCB) are the board bases for supporting and connecting electronic components and used in the vast majority of electronic products, TechTarget writes. During the PCB manufacturing process, placed electrical components must be soldered to the board.

The component soldering process involves not just high heat to melt the solder, but exposure to harsh fluxes and cleaning chemicals. Thermal transfer labels used for component and board tracking must survive these processes and be readable.

In addition, the elimination of lead from the PCB production process in support of RoHS has further increased the performance requirements for labels used in the PCB manufacturing process. Higher temperatures approaching and exceeding 280 degrees Celsius for lead-free solder require higher performance label solutions.

Polyimide thermal transfer labels have specially designed top-coats, face stocks and adhesives for use in the PCB manufacturing labeling process. As a result, polyimide labels adhere to the board and components through the processes and the printed information survives and remains readable.  

A range of polyimide label materials are available to meet the varied needs of the PCB industry. Depending on the process, the temperatures and the chemicals used, along with the specific requirements of the label application, there is an appropriate thermal transfer polyimide label material. Polyimide label stocks are available in 1 mil and 2 mil thickness, in white and other colors, with gloss and matte top-coats and with a range of specialty adhesives.

However, one polyimide label stock definitely does not fit all applications.

"It is imperative to use the right adhesive; otherwise the frustration of having labels disappear in a solder bath or vapor phase cleaning process can be the result," Polyonics writes. "If the manufacturing process is changed, or even the cleaning solutions are changed, the performance of the adhesive, which previously had performed adequately may be impaired."

The customer service team at Stranco works with our customers to specify and qualify the appropriate polyimide thermal transfer label stock for the application.  To support this effort, we stock over a dozen different polyimide label stocks to be sure we promptly respond to customer needs. Stranco is dedicated to providing our customers with excellent customer service to match the high-quality of our thermal transfer labels.

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Posted in Labels & Signs.