World’s first vertical resist stripping line installed

Posted on 27 Jun 2014 by Tim Brown

Photofabrication, the Cambridgeshire based chemical etching company has today announced the installation of the world’s first vertical resist stripping line at its St Neots manufacturing facility.

During the fabrication of metal components through a wet process, resist stripping is the final procedure where photoresist films are removed from a substrate without leaving residues. The new stripping line draws upon innovative technology to dry a sheet of either ferrous or non ferrous metal without staining; the benefit of which is a superior clean surface.

Being automated, process control and chemical maintenance is improved as variability is eliminated with the removal of human intervention. The new line is able to work with sheet metal up to the dimensions of 333mm x 660mm. This size of sheet can contain one large part or a number of smaller parts held into the sheet via small retaining tabs. For the manufacture of low volume prototype parts, the line can also work with a sheet of different variations of the same design.

Neil Shorten, Managing Director at Photofabrication commented: ‘Historically, stripping lines have predominantly been horizontal but our new installation is both automated and vertical. This removes the contact areas from the rollers to the surface of the sheet. We can now offer our clients the benefit of a superior clean finish which is not only cosmetically appealing but also enables improved adhesion for post processing procedures such as plating. For example, if a client needs to gold plate parts, sheets fed through our new line would guarantee superior adhesion of the plating for an improved finish. ’

The new, bespoke stripping line is the first of its type, size and orientation to be specified globally, taking nine months from initial concept through to commission and build. The final dimensions of the complete system led to the removal of walls at the Photofabrication plant to allow for installation. A large extraction and ventilation system was also necessary to ensure health and safety requirements were met. All of the new equipment is fully compliant with the company’s quality, environmental management and health and safety standards.