JANUARY 2014    
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Covering the World
On the Edge
Dan's Six Pack
New Website
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The art of spraying solder mask.

Some PCB manufacturers have been spraying solder mask for a very long time, not quite as long as the graffiti art of ancient Greece or as found in the Roman Catacombs, but at least for the past 30 years. I still remember my early days as a chemist working in the lab on one of the first Gyrex sprayers. The fine green overspray eventually covered the walls and everything around it.

 Over the last several months we have had a number of customers  ask us about spraying solder mask. With more challenging designs  combining high copper circuits, higher layer counts and smaller drilled holes,  many believe spray is the only solution. The main solder mask application in the Americas continues to be screen printing with some spray, while Europe still has many curtain coaters followed by screen printing, then spray. In Asia there is a lot of spraying, but it is generally electrostatic spray versus the air spraying (HVLP) seen in America and Europe.

Spray does offer many advantages such as less solder mask applied into the holes which is very handy with high aspect ratio boards.  Also, for small volume quick turns, the ease of adjusting to a different panel size or to another color of solder mask is much easier on a sprayer than a screen printer. Lastly, spraying solder mask onto a high copper trace will result in far fewer opportunities for bubbles or voids between traces, as compared to screen printing.

However there are also some misconceptions about spray that many tend to overlook or forget. A lot of people will say you get better coverage at the knee of a trace with spray. However, due to the lower viscosity of a spray product (55% solids) versus that of a screen product (78% solids) the opposite is usually true as the solder mask will generally run off the knee of the trace onto the base substrate. Another misconception is that spraying has comparable waste to that of screen printing; most spray equipment will increase your waste by 35 - 40% over screen printing because of overspray and what is lost up the exhaust.

Spray can be very effective for some PCB manufacturers as long as the pros and cons are weighed. Spraying solder mask may be perfect for a PCB manufacturer that has high mix and low volume with various panel sizes. Also if your work has a high mix of copper heights, spraying would allow the application of multiple layers onto the surface based on coverage needs, this flexibility can offer many advantages to a quick turn shop.  The equipment has come a long way from my early days, as well, in that the containment and exhaust systems are much improved.

Taiyo continues to work on making better products to meet the needs of the spray market; the challenge of getting a low viscosity material to stick on a high copper trace is left to our astute lab personnel. We will keep you updated on the progress of spray technology!

On The Edge...2013, A Look Back

We are now moving full speed ahead into the year 2014, therefore, it is a good time to take a look back at some of the "new" innovative technologies that were released in 2013.  One of the biggest innovations the past year was in the area of flexible sensors.  By integrating flexible heat sensors with printed flexible batteries, a new form of label-like sensors can be expected to appear on food packages later this year.  Wearable printed sensors have made news this past year as well.  One such sensor was designed to track impact data in helmets for football players.  With head injuries being brought to the forefront in this sport, this particular technology is poised to bring very significant information to help facilitate players' safety.  The integration of printed electronics with smartphones has also taken a step further this past year.  One such technology is a sensor built into paper that interacts with your smartphone when the two come into contact with each other.  There have also been innovations in the area of printed organic solar cells and flexible touch displays.

In addition to innovations in devices, there have been advances in raw materials.  The goal to find a viable replacement for ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) used in touch displays and smartphones has pushed advances in materials such as graphene, CNT (Carbon NanoTubes), and nanosilvers.  There have also been advances made in more specialized materials such as Ferroelectric memory materials and quantum dots. 

In all, it was a very exciting year for cutting edge technology.  Taiyo America will continue to remain at the forefront of the emerging technologies and strive to be "Your Ultimate Solution"....  



Josh Goldberg

Marketing Specialist


For readers that are interested in information regarding these exciting technologies, the materials, processes, or our participation, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or at 775.885.9959, x. 132. 




Interview with Ty Fukata, Chief Operating Officer & Director



DAN: While we focus on Taiyo America and the fine work you're doing there we seldom talk about Taiyo the Global company, can you give us an update on how the company is faring in this global economy?


TY: In 2013 we completed the acquisition of one of our competitors and now estimate our world-wide market share at more than 60%. In our new situation, our revenue is very much influenced by the economy and (market) trends. We need to expand new business segments for PCB products as well as non-PCB products to be more stable and to absorb fluctuations in the solder mask business. Many of the Taiyo group companies have established special projects designated for new products within their respective companies as well.


DAN: Can you give us a portrait of how Taiyo covers the world, which location handles what part of the world?


TY: Our basic policy is to manufacture/sell our products locally as follows:

Taiyo America, Inc.North/South America and Europe

Taiyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd.Japan

Taiwan Taiyo Ink Co., Ltd.Taiwan

Taiyo Ink Mfg Co., (Korea) Ltd.Korea

Taiyo Ink (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. / Taiyo Ink Int'l, (HK) Ltd. / Taiyo Ink Trading (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.China

Taiyo Ink Int'l, (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. / Taiyo Ink (Thailand) Co., Ltd.Southeast Asia


DAN: I know that Taiyo is the number one solder mask company in the world, can you tell us why that is? What makes you so outstanding?


TY: Let me talk historically about how we built and focused the solder mask business. Taiyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd. was established in 1953 as a manufacturer of printing ink, but it was a very tough industry for a small company to survive in so we started the development of solder mask in 1970. At that time, there was no independent solder mask manufacturer in Japan. Solder mask in those days was based on a combination of melamine resin and alkyd resin which created a terrible formalin odor during the curing process. Therefore, we were challenged to develop an epoxy-based solder mask that was formalin odor free. This epoxy-based solder mask was first commercialized in 1972 by Taiyo Ink in Japan. We have continued development of new solder masks and our products were approved by several major Japanese end users in 1975. This success, as well as the expectation of significant market growth in the PCB industry, assisted us in our decision to halt printing ink manufacturing and to concentrate on the solder mask market.


Then in 1985, we were the first to commercialize aqueous developable photoimageable solder mask (the PSR-4000 series). Solder mask demand was very high due to flat-packaging, and the conventional type of solder mask could not satisfy the industry's requirements and needs. Our PSR-4000 series is high quality solder mask and meets all of the requirements of our customers. Another reason for PSR-4000's popularity is its environmentally friendly characteristics, as compared to solvent developable types of solder mask.


I think the two aforementioned points have significantly affected our current position in the world.


DAN: Besides solder mask, can you please tell us about any non-PCB products you are currently offering today, or are working on for the future?


TY: Taiyo America is focused on new products for solar cells, displays and lighting and printed batteries. For example, our FOC-800 series can be used as a colored dielectric primer layer in solar cells (photo voltaic module) or as a flexible moisture-resistant border adhesive for displays and lighting applications. Another example is our conductive silver and aluminum pastes which can be used in solar cell and panel construction, and conductive traces in displays and lighting applications. We are also working on many other products, but we would like to introduce them when appropriate.


DAN: What is your most popular product globally today?


TY: Our PSR-4000AUS series (liquid type) and our PFR-800AUS series (dry film type) are widely used for IC substrate applications and are within your smart phone (application processor, memory, power management, etc.). Requirements for these solder masks are very different than those of conventional type solder mask requirements. For example, electrical reliability (biased HAST) is based on very narrow lines & spaces (less than 20um/20um) and required resolution for solder resist openings is 50um, therefore, these are very unique products.


DAN: What are your thoughts on the PCB market today and in the near future?


TY: The Global market was recovering in 2013 and should grow in 2014. China is still the largest PCB manufacturing location, although labor costs are on the rise.  I see the market in North America as stable and I expect no decline in 2014.


DAN: So you see the market as stable? I love that. Ty thanks for spending time with me and sharing your insights with our readers, it was extremely insightful.



Pictured L to R: Don Monn, Josh Goldberg, Lisa Kennedy and Brian Wojtkiewicz
The Printed Electronics USA 2013 conference presented by IDTechEx took place in Santa Clara, CA on November 19 - 20. The exhibition had about 2,200 attendees and 160 exhibition booths. Among the exhibition booths was one from Taiyo America. Our booth, well attended by many of Taiyo's staff, displayed dielectric and conductive products for the solar, lighting, display, and battery printed electronics' markets. The exposition also had a number of booths for specialized materials including graphene and CNT (carbon nanotubes), print platforms such as inkjet and 3D printers, and flexible substrate manufacturers. There were also a number of universities that were offering information regarding their new printed electronics academic programs. In all, the conference has constantly displayed growth in size and attendance, reflecting the growth in the printed electronics industry. Please visit our updated website for more information about Taiyo America's materials in the printed electronics world. You can also request an electronic copy of our brochure from  [email protected].
Visit us at the show, Booth # 1577 


PRESS RELEASE: Taiyo America

November 2013


Taiyo America Launches Newly Renovated Website


Taiyo America is excited to announce the launch of their newly renovated website. John Fix, manager and director of sales and marketing said, "The new website was definitely worth the wait. It's sure to have wide appeal, including the new markets we are pounding the pavement in currently. The aesthetics and user-friendliness are greatly improved as is the access to the technical literature downloads. The site is built on a responsive foundation that makes it compatible with several different devices. Additionally, our trade show exhibition page, helpful links and a new SEARCH option have been showcased. Navigation is a breeze! We hope our website visitors are pleased. Enjoy!"


Take a look at the new Taiyo America website by clicking here!

  Facility Shot
Taiyo America, Inc. is a subsidiary of TAIYO HOLDINGS CO., LTD., the world's leading manufacturer of specialty inks and solder masks for printed circuit boards. Taiyo offers conductive inks for manufacturing printed electronics, solar cells and other applications, as well.
2675 Antler Drive     Carson City, NV 89701-1451     Ph:775-885-9959     Fax:775-885-9972 
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