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  • What is Polyimide Tape and What are its Applications?

    Polyimide tape, also called polyimide film or Kapton tape,
    is primarily used in electrical applications but also any other applications
    where reliable and durable performance is required. It can withstand extremely
    harsh environments and has a temperature range of -452 degrees F to 752 degrees
    F, even leaving minimal residue after removal. This is the material of choice
    for people in many different industries. In basic terms, if you need a tough,
    durable and long lasting tape, this is the stuff for you.

    There are many different applications for Kapton tape, but
    here are some of the most common:

    • Electronic Manufacturing

    Due to its ability to withstand heat, polyimide tape is most
    commonly found in electronics manufacturing and serves as an insulated and
    protective layer over sensitive components. Even after coming into contact with
    a soldering iron, the tape will not melt or stretch.

    • 3D Printing

    The material commonly used in 3D printing is known as ABS,
    and it adheres to Kapton extremely well, making Kapton the preferred choice in
    building 3D printers.

    • X-Ray

    Again, Kapton’s ability to withstand extreme heat makes it
    the preferred material for different kinds of X-Ray processes. Kapton can also
    withstand the high radiation environments found in X-Rays, making it the number
    one choice in these applications.

    • Spacecraft & Aircraft

    The spacecraft and aircraft industries commonly use
    polyimide tape for insulation of the wings since it can endure the most intense
    and extreme environments. In the spacecraft industry, the tape is also used on
    space blankets, which can help with thermal control of the spacecraft and can
    also be used by people.

    • Auto

    Professionals in the auto industry may use polyimide tape for parts of automobiles that come in contact with heat such as switches, diaphragms, coils and sensors.

    On our GoKimco site, you can find Kapton tape rolls in a variety of different widths, ranging from 1/8” to 3”. The large rolls allow you to cover entire surfaces with a single sheet and are puncture and wear resistant. Check them out here. We also offer Kapton film dots, which come in a variety of sizes as well and come in counts of 1000 or 2000. Check them out here. We currently offer free shipping on all Kapton tape so go ahead and get yours now!

  • How to Choose the Best Soldering Mask For You

    If you’re new at or unfamiliar with the soldering process, you might not initially know the purpose of using a soldering mask for your PCB manufacturing, let alone how to choose one that’s right for the types of applications you’re performing. For starters, a solder mask is a permanent, protective layer or coating that is applied to the copper traces and interfaces on PCBs to protect it from oxidizing. The masks are able to withstand the extreme heat that the soldering iron creates, preventing solder bridging and short circuits.

    Now that you know the purpose of solder masks, it’s time to choose one that’s right for you! There are different types of PCB solder masks that you can choose from, including epoxy liquid, liquid photoimageable mask and dry film photoimageable mask.

    TechSpray Solder Mask

    Here is a look into the three types so you can choose which is best for you:

    1. Epoxy Liquid

    If you’re looking for the most affordable type of soldering mask, this is most likely for you. Liquid epoxy is the most basic and commonly used type of mask and is made of a thermal resistant polymer material. The liquid is silkscreened onto the PCB pattern, usually using ink or other synthetic fibers. Once the transfer of the synthetic fibers is completed, thermal curing is performed in the final stage.

    2. Liquid Photoimagable

    The liquid photoimagable mask is the most commonly used type of mask. They are the most reliable and accurate and make better contact with the board. The liquid can either be sprayed or silkscreened onto your PCB, most often by using the Hot Air Surface Leveling (HASL) method. This operation needs to be performed in a clean environment, free from any contaminants or other particles that could damage the board. Afterwards, the PCB is placed into a UV developer where the film is precisely aligned over the board. The blacked out locations on the PCB will prevent curing in areas where it is unwanted. Afterwards, the uncured areas are washed off.

    3. Dry Film Photoimageable

    This type of mask is best if your board surface is very flat. The mask must be applied using vacuum lamination to avoid defects and air bubbles, and therefore is not recommended for complex surface features. After applying the dry film, it is exposed and then developed, leaving various openings in the pattern. Copper is then layered onto the board inside the openings using electrochemical processing and followed up with tin to protect the copper from oxidizing. Once this process is done, the film is removed, leaving the copper exposed. The final step is thermal curing.

    There are also different colors of solder masks available
    that can improve the aesthetics of your PCB. While the most common solder mask
    color is green, there are also several other colors that you can use depending
    on your design requirements or preferences, including red, blue, black, white,
    yellow, orange, purple and clear. Green is most recommended because of its
    ability to adhere evenly and its higher resolution. Red typically gives the
    best color contrast between a PCB’s components. Blue is more highly coveted
    because of its rarity. Black absorbs more heat than other colors.

    Colored PCBs

    There’s no definite right or wrong answer for the color and type of soldering mask you should choose for your applications. If you still have any questions about the uses of each type and whether it would be best for you, be sure to give our experts at GoKimco a call by visiting the Contact Us page on our website.

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