Small to Medium Batch PCB Fab & PCBA Service

SMT Stencils Manufacturing

The best quality precision laser cut SMT stencils at low-cost prices. The largest selection of SMT stencils: Laser Cut, Electroformed, Multilayer, and Nano-coated SMT Stencils.

laser stencil

High Quality and Low-Cost SMT Stencils

MKTPCB provides high-quality SMT stencils using state-of-the-art equipment. Our SMT stencil services have emerged top in the global electronic market due to quick turnaround times, higher precision, a broad selection of product offerings, and cleaner surfaces that do not need extra deburring processing. We leverage UV and IR LPKF lasers in our laser cutting processes. 

Our products are 100% laser-cut type 304 full-hard stainless steel. This guarantees the best quality finish for our stencil products. We use a .001″ laser beam with 98% overlap to make smooth holes, which offer the best paste release. Most PCB service providers leverage .003″ lasers that leave mouse bites on the hole edges.  

We offer PCB prototype stencils, framed SMT stencils, unframed SMT stencils, prototype stencils, and prototype stencil kits. Our framed and unframed stencils come in different sizes to accommodate custom printers and stencil requirements.

SMT Stencils Manufactured by MKTPCB

We manufacture the following SMT stencil products:

Framed SMT Stencils

Framed stencils are also known as glue-in stencils. They contain a permanent stencil frame. A mesh border is used to stretch the stencil foil for high precision. Framed SMT stencils have multiple advantages like:

  • High print performance: The smooth and rigid hole design leaves precise prints.  
  • Ability to support several applications: Permanent mounting creates high superior integrity levels.
  • Double-bonding for high-wear uses: Robust engineering resists intense application. 
  • Non-fading fiducial outcomes: The screen-printing process creates durable fiducial layouts. 

Due to its long-lasting engineering, framed SMT stencils are perfect for high-volume use cases. This product is recommended for production runs that need long-term services. Use framed stencils when handling high-volumes of PCBs over an extended time frame. 

Unframed SMT Stencils 

Unframed SMT stencils are made of foils lacking permanent frames. They fit well into reusable frames, and you can detach them easily. Below are the advantages of unframed stencils:

  • Minimal storage space: The compact sizes of unframed stencils consumes less space during storage. 
  • Well compatible with screen-printing and hand-printing methods: Unframed stencils’ versatile designs facilitate machine printing. 
  • Minimal environmental impact: The use of fewer production materials is good for the environment.
  • Low-cost prices: Frameless designs come with a significant price decrease compared to framed stencils.   
  • Super print performance: High-quality designs ensure super performance throughout the product’s lifespan. 

Since unframed stencils last for an average period, they are suitable for short-term uses. They are recommended for short production runs and prototype PCB designs. You can also use them in low-volume productions, which are supposed to be done in a short span. 

Prototype Stencils

These stencils feature the designs customers request with CAD or Gerber files. You can place it over your board and use it to execute your design manually. Below are the benefits of prototype stencils.

  • Minimal assembly time: The fast alignment and printing prototype processes improve efficiency. 
  • Ease of use: Alignment tools offer an easy-to-use printing experience.  
  • Accurate manual printing: The option of hand soldering minimizes errors.
  • Less need for the use of a machine: The manual printing option does not require machines.  
  • Ultimate cost-effectiveness: Efficient designs result in low-cost prices. 

Prototype stencils are suitable for PCB prototype printing uses. It would be best if you used them to test your PCB concepts as they are cheap and easy to use. Kindly order a prototype stencil if you plan to print quick test products prior to the actual production. 

Prototype Stencil Kit

The MKTPCB prototype SMT stencil kit has everything you require to conduct manual printing. It comes includes:

  • A custom prototype stencil
  • A squeegee blade that gives accurate application.
  • Solder paste.
  • A pick-and-place tool for proper handling.
  • A temperature marker for precise heating
  • A pair of gloves and alcohol wipes to prevent contamination. 

If you plan to print a PCB for the first time manually, our prototype stencil kit will see you through the whole process successfully. It comes with simple tools that ensure good results.

Quick-Turn and Low-Cost SMT Stencil Manufacturer

For the SMT process to proceed accordingly, the solder paste stencils should be faultless. At MKTPCB, we offer quality laser-cutting SMT molds at low-cost prices. Furthermore, we leverage state-of-the-art technology and professional engineers to manufacture flawless prototype PCB stencils, laser SMT stencils, framed and frameless SMT stencils.

We use professional cleaning equipment to clean all our products. Currently, the major cleaning equipment used in the industry is the smart stencil cleaning machine. This machine is suitable for cleaning industry SMT stencil, copper stencil, wire stencil, micro-porous stencil, and wafer trays.

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As a PCB service provider with more than ten years of experience in PCB manufacturing, fabrication, and assembly, MKTPCB has a rich background in providing SMT stencil services. 

What is an SMT Stencil

SMT stands for Surface Mount Technology. The primary role of an SMT stencil is to transfer the solder paste to a bare board. A stainless steel foil is laser cut to make a hole for every surface-mounted component on the board. Once the stencil aligns well with the PCB top, the solder paste is applied over the apertures. When the stainless steel foil disconnects from the PCB Surface, the solder paste is formed. This process is consistent and time-intensive compared to the manual soldering process. 

The deposited solder paste transferred to the board is handled by opening the aperture size. The SMT stencil thickness is also made from stainless steel. Remember, too much paste causes connectivity and bridging issues, while less paste minimizes the strength of the joints. Therefore, use the right amount of solder. 

The SMT stencil thickness depends on the PCB application. 0.020″ pitch small outline integrated circuits (SOICS) work well with stencils that create thin solder pastes, while thick solder pastes are suitable for 0.050″ pitch SOICs. The paste stencil thickness for solder varies from 0.001″ – 0.003. The standard thickness for most boards ranges from 004 to 0.007. 

For Nano-coating, the contacting component edges are smeared with a water-resistant coat that withstands solder and flux. This principle gives a high release of paste for the thinnest holes. Since the application is made in a factory, the components can be used immediately after purchase. The Nano-coating technology is suitable for QFN and IC pitches, micro ball grid arrays (BGAs), and 0201 electronic components.

The Importance of SMT Stencils

You can use a solder paste stencil in the electronic industry when applying Surface Mount Technology to design a PCB and in automated part placement machines. The machine replaces the manual soldering process. Once you have placed your PCB components onto the solder paste covering your board, you should heat the board to solder the parts well. 

SMT is an electronic assembly field necessary in mounting components to a board instead of the conventional method of inserting components through holes. The primary machine you need to set up in the production process is the solder paste printer. This machine is designed to release solder paste using a stencil and squeegees to the suitable PCB pads. It is the most typical method of transferring solder paste.

Like other printing methods, it is crucial to keep control of this process. With modern PCB assemblies becoming more complex, the stencil design is essential, and you must exercise caution to ensure quality and low-cost operation.

How to Determine Stencil Size

To determine the stencil size, you need to consider both the internal dimension and the overall size. The internal size is the size that is compatible with the PCB that is ready to be assembled, and the overall size is the size that is compatible with the printer parameter limits. Both sides need to be accurate for the stencil to function optimally.

To determine the width of a framed stencil, take the PCB’s width and add 100 mm. To determine its length, take the length of the PCB and add 100 mm. If you are dealing with a frameless stencil, the stencil width is the width of the PCB plus 200 mm, and the stencil length is the length of the PCB plus 200 mm. 

PCB designers need to focus on the internal size of the stencil because the contractor will determine the necessary overall size based on the parameters of their printers.

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