Electronics manufacturers have chosen Shadow, Blackhole, Eclipse, and ENVISION HDI direct metallization systems over electroless copper processes due to lower cost of ownership and easier-to-maintain equipment. Today, over 600 of these direct metallization lines are in production around the world. These technologies offer customers lower water usage, less waste generation, smaller equipment footprints, and palladium-free activation for significant operations savings. At the forefront, Blackhole LE and Eclipse LE, our low etch direct metallization technologies, are enabling the latest generation of mobile designs with fine line width and spacing through mSAP on 3-micron copper foil. 



The Lowest Cost Through Hole Metallization Process Available

MacDermid Enthone's Blackhole is the choice of fabricators worldwide that prefer a low cost, environmentally friendly direct metallization alternative to electroless copper. Suitable for both simple and complex circuit boards, carbon-based Blackhole is a nanoscale electrostatic coating that satisfies every need for reliability and versatility.

Trusted by over 250 of the world’s leading manufacturers, Blackhole is an automated, horizontal process whose unique technology enables users to reduce cycle time, decrease overall water consumption, eliminate the use of formaldehyde, and produce less waste than electroless copper plating.

Chemical consumption, waste production, engineering support, and process yield, are among the many factor of PCB fabrications costs. Blackhole provides a value-in-use which drops right to your bottom-line, minimizing costs associated with installation, operation, and final product yield.

Value-in-Use Cost Savings



Electroless Copper

2 to 3 min.

Start-up Time: 97% Savings

90 min.

8 min.

Cycle Time: 87% Savings

60 min.

7 mL/ssf

Chemical Replenishment: 90% Savings

70 mL/ssf

6 L/min.

Water Consumption: 88% Savings

50 L/min.

20 mL/ssf

Water Waste Treatment: 90% Savings

200 mL/ssf


Mission Critical PTH Reliability

Eclipse is the next generation direct metallization process, engineered specifically for fabricators and OEMs that require consistently high performance, reliability and durability. Simpler to use and considerably more cost-efficient than electroless copper, Eclipse provides high tech capabilities and RoHS-compliance all in one.

The new benchmark in PTH metallization, carbon-based Eclipse is capable of initiating 10:1 aspect ratio and higher through holes. Boards using Eclipse achieve over 500 IST cycles, and the process enables manufacturers to decrease chemical usage and water consumption by 90%. The environmentally friendly Eclipse reduces process steps by 50% and eliminates 100% of chelated metals. Utilizing an automated horizontal process, Eclipse delivers unmatched coverage and connectivity for even the most challenging designs and is supported by our renowned hands-on global technical service.


Low Etch Direct Metallization for mSAP

EclipseLE_BeforeAfter.jpgPrecision removal of carbon from both innerlayer and copper surfaces enable highly reliable activation without excess debris.



Blackhole LE and Eclipse LE enable direct plate mSAP that is flash-plate free, resulting in a single copper interface at the micro via target pad.

Blackhole LE and Eclipse LE

The low etch technology included in the Blackhole LE and Eclipse LE processes represents a revolutionary upgrade to equipment and chemical capabilities of carbon based direct metallization. In modified Semi-Additive Processing (mSAP), these processes are able to conserve the thin copper layer of the starting build-up material while improving the copper etch budget of the entire build-up process as a whole when compared to electroless copper based processing.  The highly reliable micro via structures created by Blackhole LE and Eclipse LE can be used to create incredible circuit density with higher manufacturing quality and process yields than previously possible. Fabricators currently running Blackhole or Eclipse can upgrade their lines to the LE variation with equipment modifications and chemical replacement.

Blackhole LE and Eclipse LE processes can be combined with MacuSpec VF-TH 300 via filling technology to create reliable mSAP layers with drastically shortened or no post bake while still being resistant to V-pitting defects that can occur during the layer final etch. This combined technology reduces manufacturing times by hours while increasing overall quality and yields.

Specific Equipment Configurations for HDI, Flex, mSAP and More



Graphite Based Advanced Direct Metallization

Shadow advanced direct metallization is an environmentally conscious patented graphite based direct metallization process. The slightly alkaline aqueous dispersion of conductive colloids and proprietary additives makes through holes and blind vias extraordinarily conductive for copper electroplating. Shadow’s exceptional coating ability is well recognized in use on Flexible and Rigidflex, PTFE and exotic materials like LCP and hydrocarbons making it an ideal choice for today’s advanced materials.

With 26 years of technology expertise, 280 active lines, and over 1 billion boards produced, electronics fabricators all over the world trust Shadow for their primary metallization needs.

For more information on Shadow, click here



High Performance, High Production Capacity, Environmentally Friendly

Meeting the volume demand for PCBs and providing a greener world are no longer incompatible goals. ENVISION HDI direct metallization system delivers more board capacity with substantially improved performance. The ENVISION HDI polymer-based system is unlike any other direct metallization process on the market today.

  • Low cost of ownership vs. electroless copper
  • Meets or exceeds performance and reliability standards
  • Delivers reliable processing of microvias and high aspect ratio multilayers in a single pass
  • Short, three step process for high productivity
  • Reduces water usage, energy consumption and waste treatment vs. electroless copper

The significant cost savings rendered from the replacement of electroless copper with ENVISION HDI are comprised of lower material, labor, equipment, and utility costs.

With ENVISION HDI, fabricators no longer need to choose between high performance and cost reduction. They only need to choose ENVISION HDI.