Mixed technology applications for Flip-Chip (FC) / SMT require special step stencil designs where flux is printed first for the FC and SMD paste printed next with a second stencil that has a relief pocket etched or formed in the FC area. Step stencils are used when varying stencil thicknesses are required to print into cavities or on elevated surfaces or to provide relief for certain features on a board. In the early days of SMT assembly, Step Stencils were used to reduce the stencil thickness for 25 mil pitch leaded device apertures. Thick metal stencils that have both relief-etch pockets and reservoir step pockets are very useful for paste reservoir printing. However as SMT requirements became more complex and consequently more demanding so did the requirements for complex Step Stencils. Electroform Step-Up Stencils for ceramic BGA's and RF Shields are a good solution to achieve additional solder paste height on the pads of these components as well as providing exceptional paste transfer for smaller components like uBGAs and 0201s. As the components are getting smaller, for example 0201m, or as the available real estate for component placement on a board is getting smaller – finer is the aperture size and pitch on the stencils. Aggressive distances from step wall to aperture are also required. Ultra-thin stencils with thicknesses in the order of 40um with steps of 13um are used to obtain desired print volume. These applications and the associated stencil design to achieve a solution will be discussed in detail in this paper. Various print experiments will be conducted and print quality will be determined by visual inspection and 3D measurement of the paste deposit to understand the volume transfer efficiency.

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