In addition to mechanically abrasive methods for patterning metal surfaces, the chemical etching process is often used. In the conventional process the metal material is first completely coated or laminated with a photosensitive resist. Then it will be UV exposed with a phototool having the desired image. The transparent parts of the film allow the passage of UV rays which will polymerize the photosensitive resist. The non-exposed parts of the resist will then be washed away during development processing. The metal piece is then sprayed with or immersed in an acid solution that will etch the unprotected metal areas. After one or repeated acid etching cycles, the metal work piece will reveal the desired surface structures or 3-D shape.

As an alternative to the phototool based method, digital inkjet printing can also be used. With this process, the desired pattern of the resist can be digitally printed directly on the metal surface. Agfa offers imaging solutions that are needed for both of these processes


Agfa offers a large portfolio of films categorized by exposure light source and resolution specifications to most adequately meet the widest range of case-specific requirements. IdeaLINE’s unsurpassed consistency in quality, very good dimensional stability, and optimal density translate into your PCB’s being manufactured with unparalleled precision of line and space widths.
IdeaLINE RPF, CKF OPF & HPF films enjoy Agfa’s ‘hard dot’ technology that allows for extremely high contrast ratios and very sharp line edges. IdeaLINE SPF film is based on ‘soft dot’ technology with a somewhat lower contrast but giving a very wide imaging and processing latitude, which makes it a perfect fit for less critical production environments.
Symmetrical construction means that our double sided coated film types remain perfectly flat after chemical processing making it very simple to mount and hold phototools on the exposure unit. Single sided films have a superior dimensional stability coefficient thanks to a much lower level of gelatin. Controlled temperature and humidity make sure that the film stays nice and flat.
IdeaLINE CPF2 is a high resolution film that works with UV light. Unique in the market, it can be exposed on Laser Direct Imagers, which is a very good alternative or back-up for a traditional film plotter.

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For best image results, it is advised to use IdeaLINE chemicals for processing.

About IdeaLINE

IdeaLINE is the brand name of the world’s N°1 portfolio of phototool films and chemicals. The films are extruded and coated in Agfa’s production center in Mortsel, Belgium. The manufacturing plant is certified ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 for Quality Management System and Environment Management respectively.

World-Class film technology. IdeaLINE includes both single sided and double sided phototool films that enjoy Agfa’s ‘hard dot’ technology. This technology allows for extremely high contrast ratios and very sharp line edges. All IdeaLINE films stay nice and flat so that mounting an holding the film on the exposure unit is perfectly simple.

Agfa’s technology is based on nano-size silver particles (black spots in the photo) that are embedded in gelatin.

IdeaLINE films are securely packed, even the XXL sheets. IdeaLINE films are cut and packed in clean room environment. The cutting equipment is encapsulated and kept under a laminar HEPA filtered airflow. In addition, the films are cleaned by a contact surface cleaning system prior to stacking and are AOI inspected. Agfa offers phototooling films in an exceptionally wide range of sizes going up to even 162 cm x 245 cm. Most IdeaLINE film products are vacuum packed in a sleeve that contains a moisture barrier. Additionally, the vacuum pack is wrapped in a PE foil to block any dust that could come from the cardboard wrap.

The global N°1 supplier position of Agfa was achieved thanks to IdeaLINE’s sustained product quality which has been validated by all the major photoplotter vendors.


Product DiPaMAT Etch Resist
Type Application Function Stripping TDS
ER01 PCB inner layers and metal structuring Acid etching (compatible with existing equipment) Flakes (compatible with existing equipment)
CS 0102 Cleaning Solution

About DiPaMAT Inkjet Inks

All DiPaMAT inks are UV curable either with mercury bulb or LED. The inks are non-toxic and contain no solvents, hence they are environmentally friendly. DiPaMAT inks have a low viscosity, which allows for great printing efficiency within a wide range of printhead technologies. DiPaMAT inks meet all industry standards as well as health and safety regulations and are manufactured under ISO 9001.

Following Agfa’s vendor-neutral strategy, DiPaMAT inks are validated by major suppliers of industrial piezo print heads and printer integrators.

DiPaMAT Inkjet Inks for PCB have been validated by: