LPKF PCB Development Systems Take a Leap Forward

This last year has proven independent product development, rapid PCB prototype verification and advanced research applications are more important now than ever before.


Additional capabilities are now possible with new system advances to meet the latest challenges. Medical devices and wireless biosensors are now smaller and more powerful. Improvements continue to unfold with high-speed communication including 5G and higher bandwidths. Shortened time to market can also be achieved during a year when outsource delays became expected or even “acceptable.”


The LPKF ProtoMat mechanical PCB milling options are now highly automated and more precise than ever before allowing for quick turn development within your own lab with little user interaction. An engineer has even more freedom to complete their daily activities while the machines deliver prototypes with high precision traces down to 4 mil (100µm) and in only a matter of minutes.


The new features include automated tool cut depth setting, camera and sensor verified automatic tool exchanges, and precise project alignment using a high-resolution fiducial camera. An engineer can now run the system unattended while working on other tasks saving the company time and money while accomplishing more. 


A lower cost entry level system is also available allowing for PCB milling at home or in a small office with the same high precision alignment and high-quality milling.  


It doesn’t stop there.


Direct laser processing with the latest LPKF ProtoLaser models has proven to allow unmatched PCB development quality and speed. Fine pitch traces and gaps down to 1 mil (25µm) are common and even smaller with the new ProtoLaser R4 picosecond laser. 


Challenging and more sensitive materials are also easily processed including various flex circuit substrates, fired ceramics, piezoceramics and new laminated substrates developed for microwave/EHF projects. The finished board performance matches simulation nearly perfectly making a ProtoLaser ideal for high mix production-on-demand processing small and medium batch. 


The patented Hatch & Heat delamination laser processing feature is included on each system including the new benchtop ProtoLaser ST. This unique direct laser etching process quickly removes metal on laminated and micro-clad PCB substrates while limiting any heat effect to the substrate.


Our most advanced 355 nm UV laser source on the ProtoLaser U4 and picosecond source on the new ProtoLaser R4 allow for direct ablation processing thin film and thick film metal removal. This also enables controlled pocketing on ceramics, plastics and even woven or Teflon/PTFE substrates. 


Updated LPKF CircuitPro PL software and user-friendly controls help projects go from design to completion without chemical etch of any kind. The software also allows an operator to adjust the laser travel speed, pulse frequency, repetitions, power and beam or pulse overlap to dial in new settings as additional or new materials are needed. These settings are saved within the tool library adding to the common settings included by LPKF for FR4 or PTFE laminated substrates, polyimide cutting, solder mask skiving and processing of fired ceramic materials.


For nearly 45 years, LPKF has developed high precision milling and laser systems to avoid painful outsourcing delays which cause unexpected cost increases and extend the time to market. Added delays can make it difficult to meet the demands of important development cycles, contract deadlines and overextend approved budgets. However, the latest LPKF ProtoMat and ProtoLaser units allow multiple design iterations in less time than it takes to prepare and send a design to an outside service. 


This improvement to a PCB prototyping process in-house is often a necessity to ensure Government contract awards are secured and project completion meets required deadlines.


Overcoming challenges quickly and discovering new capabilities are synonymous with high quality engineering. The latest LPKF systems help meet that challenge and ensure an engineer has the right tools for the job.