Engineering and Technical Support Group
School of Information Technology & Electrical Engineering

OH&S Requirements

  1. Ensure you have either completed a Risk Assessment or read (and confirmed as being read) the relevant Risk Assessment before attempting to operate this equipment.
  2. The Process ID which refers to the general Risk Assessment regarding activities in the Darkroom / PCB Etching Facility is 19251 and addresses the risks associated with the LPKF Contac II Plating Bath.
  3. Visually check the equipment is safe to operate and the electrical safety tag is current.  If expired, the equipment must be tested and tagged before proceeding.
  4. Wear safety glasses, gloves and a lab coat before you begin.
  5. Clean room protocols apply to the Darkroom / PCB Etching Facility

Initial Preparation

  1. Turn on Contac II water supply
  2. Switch on oven K015 and set temperature to 50 degrees
  3. Switch on Contac II K062 and wait for equipment to reach operating temperature
    • The process menu will display Ready when the nominal operating temperature has been reached

First Rinsing Phase

  1. Clamp the board in Holder A (this holder is used for cleaning phases only)
  2. Place Holder A in Container #2 (Rinsing container)
  3. Press Enter (Board will be spray rinsed, see process menu for prompts)
  4. Remove Holder A from Container #2 on completion of rinsing phase
  5. Replace Container #2 Lid

First Degreasing Phase

  1. Leave the board clamped in Holder A (Holder used for cleaning phases only)
  2. Place Holder A in Container #1
  3. Press Enter (Board will be degreased, see process menu for prompts)
  4. Remove Holder A from Container #1 on completion of degreasing phase
  5. Replace Container #1 Lid (Reduces chemical loss due to evaporation

Second Rinsing Phase

  1. Leave the board clamed in Holder A (Holder used for cleaning phases only)
  2. Place Holder A in Container #2 (Rinsing container)
  3. Press Enter (Board will be spray rinsed, see process menu for prompts
  4. Important: move board up and down about 15 minutes during the rinsing phase
  5. Remove Holder A from Container #2 on completion of rinsing phase
  6. Replace Container #2 Lid

Second Degreasing Phase

  1. Leave the board clamped in Holder A (Holder used for cleaning phases only)
  2. Place Holder A in Container #1
  3. Press Enter (Board will be degreased, see process menu for prompts)
  4. Remove Holder A from Container #1 on completion of degreasing phase
  5. Replace Container #1 Lid (Reduces chemical loss due to evaporation

Third Rinsing and Drying Phase

  1. Leave the board clamped in Holder A (Holder used for cleaning phases only)
  2. Place Holder A in Container #2 (Rinsing container)
  3. Press Enter (Board will be sprayed rinsed, see process menu for prompts)
  4. Remove Holder A from Container #2 on completion of rinsing phase
  5. Thoroughly rinse board with spray bottle containing demineralised water
  6. Dry the board with clean compressed air (Ensure moisture trap is dry)
  7. Place Holder A in Container #5 and let stand for 10 minutes
  8. Remove Holder A from Container #5 on completion of drying phase
  9. Replace Container #5 lid

Black Hole (SP) Starter Application

  1. Thoroughly stir contents of Container #4
  2. Ensure surgical gloves are worn before continuing (prevents contamination)
  3. Remove board from Holder A
  4. Clamp the board in Holder B (Holder used for Container #4 only)
  5. Thoroughly clean and dry Holder A (Isowipes may be used for cleaning)
  6. Carefully place 4 pieces of PVC electrical tape over both sides of each registration hole in the PCB
    • In order to maintain absolute accuracy during the next milling phase, registration holes should not be thru plated.  Ensure enough tape is applied to prevent ingress of Black Hole (SP) Starter.
  7. Place Holder B  in Container #4
  8. Press Enter (Black Hole application starts, see process menu for prompts)
  9. Remove Holder B from Container #4 on completion of application phase
  10. Replace Container #4 Lid

Removal of Excess Black Hole (SP) Starter

  1. Ensure surgical gloves are worn before continuiing (Prevents contimination)
  2. Leave the board clamped in Holder B (Holder used for Container #4 only)
  3. Wipe excess Black Hole Starter from both sides of the board with special wiping spatula so that liquid drops back into Container #4
  4. Remove board from Holder B
  5. Very gently dry board with clean compressed air, ensuring holes are free from chemical residue
  6. It is suggested the board is placed flat on a paper towel during this procedure in order to eliminate splashing of the chemical
  7. Remove the PVC electrical tape from both sides of each of the registration holes

Black Hole (SP) Starter Drying

  1. Place the board in oven K015 at 50 (+5/-10) degrees for 1 hour
  2. Thoroughly clean and dry Holder B (Isowipes may be used for cleaning)

Inspection

  1. Ensure surgical gloves are worn before continuing (prevents contimination)
  2. It is essential the Black Hole (SP) Starter is dry, of not repeat the 'Black Hole (SP) Starter Drying' process above
  3. Carefully remove ptrotective foil from each side of the baord and carry out a visual examination confirming there is no Black Hole (SP) Starter present other than in the drill holes and possible minimal amounts around the drill hole edges

Deburring (optional)

  1. Experience indicates that drilling may produce holes with burring around their edges.  This is detrimental to the plating process and is likely to cause problems with milling.  The following procedure will eliminate this problem.
  2. Ensure surgical gloves are worn before continuing (prevents contimation)
  3. Carefully deburr the PCB using the special deburring pad K088
    • Never use a damp or wet pad and ensure the board is scoured in a single direction during the deburring process!
  4. Remove all debris from the board with clean compressed air
  5. It is essential the whole board is absolutely free from contamination of any type before continuing
    • This section is a non-standard part of the overall plating process.  Any contimination of the board may result in failure and could render the plating chemicals useless!
  6. Check again for cleanliness

Plating Phase

  1. Ensure surgical gloves are worn before continuing (prevents contimination)
  2. Clamp the board in Holder C (Holder used for plating only)
  3. Place Holder C in Container #6
  4. Connect power cable to Holder C
  5. The following formula is used to calculate the current required for the plating process:
    • Current = (area of pcb cm2 x 2) x 0.85 / 100
    • A4 PCB = 10.6 Amperes      A5 PCB = 5.4 Amperes       A6 PCB - 2.6 Amperes
  6. The above settings should deposit copper at the rate of 12-18μm Cu/Hr
  7. Press Enter then navigate with arrows (set current as close as Contac II accuracy will permit)
  8. Press Enter then navigate with arrows (set time - nominal 60 minutes)
  9. Press Enter (starts plating process, see process menu for prompts)
  10. Remove Holder C  from Container #6 on completion of the plating phase
  11. Replace Container #6 Lid
  12. Enter the 'Ampere/Hour' details for this task in the Contac II log sheet
    • In order to achieve and maintain high quality results, it is important that all plating and/or maintenance procedures are accurately entered into the Contac II log sheet as part of an ongoing quality assessment programme

Final Rinsing Phase

  1. Leave the board clamped in Holder C (Holder used for cleaning phases only)
  2. Place Holder C in Container #7 (Rinsing container)
  3. Press Enter (Board will be sprayed rinsed, see process menu for prompts)
  4. Important: move board up and down about 15 minutes during this rinsing phase
  5. Remove Holder C from Container #7 on completion of rinsing phase
  6. Replace Container #7 Lid

Final Requirements

  1. Remove board from Holder C
  2. Thoroughly clean and dry Holder C (Isowipes may be used for cleaning)

Shutdown Instructions / End of Day

  1. Process is now complete, switch off all equipment
  2. Turn off water supply to Contac II
  3. Ensure Contac II is thoroughly clean and free from chemical spills

Additional Information

  • The manufacturer's safety data sheet for Black Hole (SP) Conditioner is MSDS033
  • The manufacturer's safety data sheet for Black Hole (SP) Starter is MSDS034
  • The manufacturer's safety data sheet for Acid Copper 9241 Solution is MSDS034

Amendments to Procedure

Inform the Engineering & Technical Support Manager at the earliest opportunity if this procedure has, or needs to be altered in any way.