Safe and effective cleaning of components and reduction of oxide layers, e.g. in semiconductor production or IGBT power modules, is essential for the electronics industry. Plasmatreat GmbH has developed a market innovation in the form of the inline REDOX-Tool. This system is one of the highlights at SMTConnect 2024. Plasmatreat, a leading supplier and manufacturer of plasma equipment and systems based in Steinhagen, Germany, will present these and other revolutionary possibilities, such as the latest generation of plasma treatment equipment, at its booth 351 in Hall 4: Openair-Plasma and PlasmaPlus technology is a real game changer for the electronics industry when it comes to potential-free surface treatment for high-performance products and minimizing waste in production.

The REDOX-Tool – Flux less Oxide Reduction

“The surfaces of metal parts naturally oxidize under the influence of oxygen – but for components and processing steps in the electronics industry, these oxide layers must be thoroughly removed to ensure high product quality and low reject rates in the end products,” explains Nico Coenen, Global Director Electronics Market at Plasmatreat.

Plasmatreat’s new inline REDOX-Tool is particularly reliable when processing semiconductors or IGBT power modules. For example, this system is an efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to the use of flux in the soldering process for thermal compression bonding in semiconductor production. The REDOX-Tool can also be used in the production of IGBT power modules, e.g. before die bonding, before wire bonding or before over molding the sensitive power module electronics. Users benefit from several advantages: Inline capability, implementation of a clean process, flux replacement, selective or full surface treatment.

In addition to the live demonstrations of the REDOX-Tool at the Plasmatreat booth, visitors can gain further insight into the revolutionary plasma technology. The latest generation of PTUs (Plasma Treatment Units), complete production cells with robot-guided nozzles for plasma pre-treatment, will be shown for the first time. The new PTU1212 features an improved and lighter construction and an adapted, future-oriented design. In this cell, Plasmatreat demonstrates all possible applications of atmospheric plasma surface treatment: activation, cleaning with Openair-Plasma and coating with PlasmaPlus for a wide range of applications in the electronics industry. In addition, plasma treatment can be verified on site using special test equipment. Visitors can see for themselves that, depending on the setting and nozzle type, Plasmatreat’s plasma nozzles work without potential and therefore cause no damage to electronic surfaces.

“The use of plasma in this industry is a positive response to challenges such as the miniaturization of printed circuit boards while increasing the number of components. At Plasmatreat, our goal is to support electronics manufacturers with innovative and reliable plasma technology for cleaning, activation, coating and reduction,” says Coenen, explaining the company’s focus on the electronics industry. Plasma treatment optimizes the surface properties of electronic components for subsequent processing. Compared to conventional low-pressure plasma systems, Plasmatreat’s systems, which operate at atmospheric pressure, offer several advantages: These include inline capability, selective treatment, reduced component handling, cost efficiency, process reliability and reproducibility. In addition, users swear by the improved product quality of their components, fewer rejects and environmental friendliness compared to other pretreatment methods.

The REDOX-Tool in detail

Oxide layers are reliably removed in an inline process without the use of environmentally and health hazardous chemicals. This special production cell requires only a combination of nitrogen and hydrogen and does not use environmentally harmful formic acid. Components are heated in a tunnel with inert gas (e.g. N2 or N2H2) and prepared for plasma reduction. The plasma nozzles also use inert gas to reliably remove oxygen molecules adhering to the metal surface. The plasma application results in optimized surface adhesion properties, leading to reliable adhesion in subsequent processes. Defects, delamination and product failures are effectively reduced. The REDOX-Tool also provides complete process control and product traceability.

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