PCB SMT Solder paste Stencils

Apart from all types of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) such as Prototype PCB, Aluminum PCB, HDI PCB, Flexible PCB, Rigid-Flex PCB, Thick Copper PCB, High TG PCB, JHYPCB also manufactures solder paste stencils to meet Surface Mount Technology (SMT) requirements.

PCB Stencil, SMT Stencil, SMD Stencil, Laser-Cut Stencil, Solder Paste Stencil, What is it?

PCB Stencils, also called SMT stencils, SMD stencil, play a key role in transferring accurate amount of solder paste to correct positions on bare circuit boards ready for assembly. In other words, stencils can fast and efficiently ensure the most accurate solder paste amount and optimal electrical connection. With solder stencils, it is possible to use metal squeegee blades to apply solder paste easily over the openings on PCBs and make stencil to be well aligned with the surface of the advanced circuit board.

JHYPCB, The best SMT Stencil Manufacturer

All of our SMT Stencils stencils are 100% laser-cut type 304 full-hard stainless steel, ensuring the finest quality finish on the market today. We use a .001″ laser beam with 98% overlap creating an extremely smooth hole that provides the best paste release. Most stencil fabricators use a .003″ laser leaving mouse bites on the aperture edge. You can choose a PCB Prototype stencil, a frameless foil stencil, or a rigid permanently mounted stencil. Both the frameless and framed stencils come in various sizes to accommodate your printer and stencil requirements.

Why SMT Stencils Are Important

Solder Paste Printing

Solder Paste Printing

Surface Mount Technology is an area of electronic assembly used to mount electronic components to the surface of the printed circuit board (PCB) as oppose to inserting components through holes as with conventional assembly.

The first machine to setup in the manufacturing process is the solder paste printer which is designed to apply solder paste using a stencil and squeegees to the appropriate pads on the PCB. This is the most widely used method for applying solder paste.

Keeping control of this process is critical as any printing defects, if undetected, will lead to defects further down the line. With assemblies becoming more complex the design of the stencil(Click here to download the IPC-7525 Stencil Design Guidelines) is key and care must be taken to ensure a repeatable and stable process.

Why do you need SMT STENCIL?

In electronics manufacturing, a solder paste stencil is used for the following reasons:

  1. When using SMT (Surface Mount Technology) in the design of the printed circuit board (PCB).
  2. When using automated component placement equipment (unless it is a hand-loaded prototype).

This equipment replaces the process of hand soldering each component. Once components are placed onto the solder paste covering the printed circuit board, the PCB is then heated or ‘baked’ to solder the components to the board.

How can you make sure you apply the solder paste with precision exactly where it needs to go?

SMT stencils, or surface mount technology stencils, are the answer. SMT stencils are the medium you use to transfer that solder paste onto the PCB.

Can you apply soldering paste without an SMT stencil?

Yes, but because of the precision required, trying to apply soldering paste everywhere it needs to go on the board by hand can be an extremely time-consuming, painstaking process. Furthermore, you cannot get the consistency when applying soldering paste by hand that you will get using a single SMT stencil. It’s important to consider that the chances of error are much greater when applying soldering paste by hand.

When applying soldering paste by hand, or trying to apply it without a perfect stencil you could face some very serious problems, like:

  • Short circuits
  • Voids in the soldering process
  • The desired printed result requires:
  • Smooth and burr-free side walls of the apertures
  • Flat, unstressed material
  • Uniform tension distribution over the entire surface
  • Precision in position and size of the apertures

Low Cost and Quick Turn PCB Stencil Maker

For the PCB SMT assembly process to proceed normally, we must ensure that Solderpaste Stencils are flawless.

At JHYPCB, we provide top 100% laser cutting SMT molds at competitive prices. Moreover, we use the latest technology and experienced technicians to offer perfect prototype PCB stencil, laser SMT stencil, framed and frameless SMT stencil, etc.

Solder Paste Stencil Types Available From JHYPCB

We offer the following SMT stencil products:

Prototype PCB Stencil (Low-volume manual printing. Ideal for prototypes)

A prototype stencil features the design you specify using a CAD or Gerber file.

When prototyping dictates fast action with minimal cost, our prototype stencils are the best solution. Prototype Stencils gives you a quality stencil and framework so you can handle assembly from the convenience of your own desk.

Prototype SMT Stencil Features:

  • Precise manual SMT stencil: Alternative to hand soldering reduces the potential for errors.
  • Specifically designed to manually print solder paste onto printed circuit boards.
  • Eliminates tedious hand soldering of prototype circuit boards
  • Reduced prototype assembly time: Quick alignment and printing increase efficiency.
  • Eliminated need to use a machine: Hand-printing application requires no machine setup.
  • Ultimate cost-effectiveness: Efficient design results in affordable price.
  • Ease of use: Alignment tools allow for an easy-to-understand printing process.
  • Allow quick alignment for repeatability
Prototype PCB Stencil

Prototype SMT stencil, also called  Desktop Stencils, is a simple stencil that is commonly used for circuit board assembly of prototype boards by hand.

High Precision SMT Laser-cut Stencil​

The openings are lasered on 100% stainless steel. Generally speaking, this kind of stencil can be produced with high quality and a high degree of precision within a short time.

Laser cutting stencil has the most comprehensive scope of application and is also the most used in the SMT industry.

Delivery Time: 1 day

Advantages: high accuracy; barely influenced by objective elements; trapezoid opening beneficial for demoulding; suitable for accurate cutting; reasonable price.

Disadvantages: relative low manufacturing speed.

Laser-cut SMT stencil

Framed SMT Stencils (Also called "Glue-in" or Mounted Stencils)

Framed stencils are laser-cut stencils designed for high volume screen-printing. With a framed stencil, your stencil is securely mounted to either a cast or extruded aluminum stencil frame a stencil frame using a mesh border, allowing for complete control.

Framed SMT Stencils feature a permanent stencil frame. A mesh border keeps the stencil foil stretched taut for optimum accuracy. These stencils have benefits such as:

  • Unique Process for smooth aperture walls
  • Very clean laser-cut apertures
  • Excellent print performance
  • Excellent for high-volume stencil printing on printed circuit boards
  • Unique process creates permanent non-removable non-fading fiducial
  • All framed SMT stencils are double bonded to extreme wear
  • 24-hour turnaround standard

Because of its durable engineering, a framed SMT stencil suits high-volume printing applications. We recommend this product for production runs that require long-term use. Consider choosing a framed stencil when you plan to create a large number of PCBs over an extended period.

Framed PCB Stencil

Framed SMT stencils, also known as glue-in stencils

Frameless SMT Stencil

There are two types of Frameless SMT Stencil:

  1. Frameless SMT Stencil – Foil/Plate Only (for universal frames)

    Foil or Plate Only stencils are designed to work within interchangeable plate or “universal” systems. Also referred to as “reusable”, these stencils do not need to be permanently glued into a frame.

  2. Frameless SMT Stencil – Foil/Plate Only (for hand printing)

    For times when you need precise control for smaller production runs, our Foil or Plate Only stencils are ideal. These frameless stencils allow you to hand print with precision just the amount you need and can be stored conveniently.

Frameless SMT Stencil Features:

  • Reduced storage space requirements
  • Significantly less expensive than framed stencils
  • Use of fewer materials suits eco-friendly production methods.
  • Excellent for prototype Printed Circuit Board Assembly or short runs
  • Smooth aperture walls, can be used for 16 Mil pitch and below and for Micro BGA’s
  • Compatible with screenprinting and hand-printing: Versatile format allows for printing with a machine or squeegee.
  • 24-hour turnaround standard

Unframe SMT Stencil

Frameless SMT Stencils also referred to as foils are laser cut solder paste stencils designed to work with stencil tensioning systems known as reusable stencil frames. This type of stencil does not need to be permanently glued in a frame. Frameless stencils are significantly less expensive than framed stencils and provide money-saving storage while still delivering superior quality and performance.

At JHYPCB, in addition to the SMT stencil we introduced above, we can also provide:

  • Nano SMT Stencils
  • Microporous SMT Stencils
  • Chemical-etch Stencils
  • Framed Electroformed SMT Stencils
  • Unframe Electroformed SMT Stencils
  • Framed Multi-level / Step Stencils
  • CPF Stencils
  • Stainless Steel SMT Stencils
  • BGA Rework Stencils
  • Quick-turn Rework Stencils
  • Leaded Device Rework Stencils

About our PCB SMT Stencil manufacturing capacity, please click here.

Nano SMT Stencil

SMT Stencil Gallery

SMT Stencil for PCB Assembly Manufacturing

JHYPCB is an excellent PCB SMT Stencil manufacturer. We have advanced PCB Stencil laser cutter, machine equipment, and experienced and skilled technical workers. We have a production management system that keeps pace with the times and continuously upgrades/updates the manufacturing process to maximize and guarantee the perfect quality of the product.

Circuit Board SMT Stencil Make Process

SMT Stencil Fabrication Process

Production and Testing Equipment

SMT Stencil Laser cutting Workshop
SMT Stencil Production Workshop-1
SMT Stencil Production Workshop-2
SMT Stencil Production Workshop-3
SMT Stencil Production Workshop-4
SMT Stencil Production Workshop-5
SMT Stencil Closure Workshop
Professional SMT Stencil Design Software
Nano Stencil Coating Machine
100 times magnifying glass
Check with a magnifying glass
Automatic Stencil Detector
Nano SMT Stencil Wear Tester
SMT Stencil Laser Cutting Machine
Online polishing machine

Storage and packaging

Finished SMT Stencil
Stencil packaging protected by wooden planks
Laser SMT Stencil for Delivery
SMT Stencil To Be Delivered

FAQ

A framed PCB stencil will have a 0.5″ to 1.5″ thick metal frame around it, similar to a picture frame. Framed stencils are often used by contract manufacturers, assembly and board houses, and large scale production facilities and are commonly placed in a manual or automated stencil printing machine. Frameless stencils are a thin sheet of material cut with a small border around your design.

All stencils are made with high-quality Polyimide and Stainless Steel. We use only the industry-leading Stainless Steel, explicitly designed for stencils.

Stainless Steel: 0.0007″ Laser spot size, 0.001″ minimum aperture size.
Polyimide Film: 0.003″ Laser spot size, 0.005″ minimum aperture size.

Polyimide has a lower precision rate due to the way it is processed and its ability to withstand heat during the cutting process. Minor variances will occur when the material reacts to the laser. Paste release is excellent, but this material should be limited to a small number of uses and with components 0402 or bigger.

The minimum aperture size for Polyimide is 0.005″ vs. 0.001″ for Stainless Steel. Polyimide also has a natural curl in the material caused by the way the film is manufactured; this is outside of our control. Stainless Steel provides the ultimate in precision and quality, with a 0.0007″ spot size, and exceptional paste release with a truly flat surface. If you want the absolute best reflow experience, there is no comparison, Stainless Steel is the superior material.

Stencil size is composed of two parts: internal size and overall size. Interior size is the size compatible with that of PCB ready to be assembled while the overall size refers to the format consistent with the printer parameter limit. As long as both dimensions are accurately designed, the stencil will be able to make full use of its functions.

Internal size of stencil can be figured out conforming to the following rule:

Width of Framed Stencil = width of PCB + 100mm while its Length = length of PCB + 100mm
Width of Frameless stencil = width of PCB + 200mm while its Length = length of PCB + 200mm

For example, if one circuit board size is 50*50mm, then the size of its framed stencil should be around 150*150mm, and the size of its frameless stencil should be around 250*250 mm.

It’s easy to remember and operate, so it worked for manual solder paste printing in SMT assembly before the advent of the automatic printer. It can be said that different PCB sizes lead to generations of different internal dimensions of the stencil.

When it comes to automatic solder paste printer, however, it’s relatively stable. The overall size of the stencil has to be determined by the parameter limit of the equipment, that is, printer because stencil has to work within the range of a printer with a frame. Different printers feature different parameter regulations. As far as JHYPCB is concerned, the stencil size compatible with our printer can be either 650mm*650mm or 736mm*736mm.

PCB designers have to focus on the internal size of the stencil; they don’t need to care about its overall size since it is generally determined by the parameters of the printer in your contract assembler workshop.

When the QFP pitch ≤ 0.5mm, the sheet thickness can be selected as either 0.13mm or 0.12mm; If the pitch> 0.5mm, then the steel thickness can be between 0.15mm – 0.20mm; If the BGA ball pitch > 1.0mm, then select a 0.15mm thickness. If the 0.5mm≤BGA ball pitch ≤1.0mm, then select a 0.13mm thickness.

The stencil aperture is designed to match the land area on the PCB. It is recommended to use a pad to aperture aspect ratio of 90% to 100% with a recommended stencil thickness of 0.125mm.

Insufficient solder paste
Insufficient solder paste may cause weak bonds and contact between components and the board. The common causes of thin solder paste are poor gasketing, clogged stencil apertures, insufficient solder paste bead size, paste/stencil being used beyond recommended life span, stencil not wiped clean, or low squeegee pressure.

Smudging/bridging
The leading causes of smudging/bridging are excessive squeegee pressure, dry stencil wiping, poor contact between the board and stencil, high temperature or humidity, or low solder paste viscosity.

Misalignment print
A typical misalignment print is usually caused by the vision system not spotting fiducials, PWB or stencil stretch, poor contact between the board and the stencil, or weak board support.

Bow and twist
A PCB Board not fixed properly during solder paste printing gives poor results and increases soldering related issues. Usually, solder paste printing equipment can handle a warpage of 1.0 to 3.0 mm, but beyond this limit needs some special jigs or fixtures to hold the PCB. It may be challenging to tackle thick and small boards compared to thin and bigger size boards.

No.Specification   (width × length, unit: cm)Active   area (width × length, unit: cm)Gross   weight/piece
137×4719×291.5KG
230×4014×241KG
342×5224×341.8KG
445×5527×372KG
558.4×58.438×38   3.2KG
655×6535×453.5KG
773.6×73.650×50   5KG
828×38 (frameless)19×29   0.8KG
940×6022×402.5KG
1040×8022×603.5KG
1140×10022×764KG
1240×12022×1006KG
1340×14022×1207KG
1450×7032×503.5KG
1550×8032×603.5KG
1650×12032×1007KG
1750×14032×1207.5KG
1850×15032×1308KG
19   37×47
     (Environmentally friendly and straightforward type, no AB glue and silver   dragon adhesive paper. Only suitable for personal manual printing.)
19×29   1.5KG
20   30×40
     (Environmentally friendly and straightforward type, no AB glue and silver   dragon adhesive paper. Only suitable for personal manual printing.)
14×24   1KG

Information required for fabrication of SMT stencil:

  • Production requirements
  • SMT Stencil Use: Paste Solder Stencil or red Glue stencil
  • Polishing process: Polishing or electrolytic polishing
  • PCB file(GERBER、AUTOCAD、PCB、GBX.etc)
  • Fabrication Process:Laser-cut.etc
  • SMT Stencil Size
  • Frame or Frameless
  • SMT Stencil Thickness(The thickness of the steel sheet is determined by the smallest PITCH of the parts on the PCB)
  • Lead or Lead-free

Solder Paste printing process is the common way of applying solder paste onto a PCB, which is performed by printing solder paste through apertures in a stencil. It is very Important of surface mount Assembly process and also known as screen Printing.

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