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Dr. Ron's Occam Critique Causes a Stir

  • Indium Corporation
  • Folks,

    On August 1 the Occam process was announced. A White Paper on the topic can be downloaded. I was asked to write a analysis of Occam.

    Comments on my analysis or critique waxed poetic in referring to me as a buggy whip manufacturer in one case and then Not wrong, just irrelevant in another.

    Occam has an impressive list of advisors.

    I was asked by a friend not to be too negative, give Occam a chance. OK, fair enough, but the ardent supporters of any new technology making the breathtaking claims that Occam has, should be able to answer detailed questions about how it will achieve them. I plan to pose these questions today and in the future and also follow Occam as it unfolds. It is my hope that the questions will help us all learn more. I think potentially Occam will be a good case study for my engineering students at Dartmouth.

    So here are the broad questions.

    1. Please describe in detail the Occam Process. Can you show how it is a simple process?
    2. Isn't the underlying technology of a PWB mechanically and electrically complex? How does Occam duplicate this tight performance control?
    2. Won't Implementing on a wide scale cost $10s to $100s of billion?
    4. What cost estimate was performed that supports the financial benefit to justify such a large investment?

    Today, let's just discuss question 1. Let's assume I am the VP of Technology and you are Charlie, my best process engineer and a proponent of Occam. As the VP of Tech, I've been around for awhile, but have a good attitude about new things. I'm just asking the questions to see if you hve missed anything in the details. So I ask:

    Can you help me to understand how the process is simple? It seems to me we need the following steps below to make Occam work. Each step requires a $100K-$1M piece of equipment.

    1. Select substrate, insert into placement machine
    2. Place components (substrate needs adhesive)
    3. Coat encapsulant over substrate and components (with thickness control of 4. Cure encapsulant in oven
    5. Invert Substrate
    6. Drill 100 to 10,000 vias
    7. Clean vias and board
    8. Apply photoresist
    9. Expose photoresist
    10. Develop photoresist
    11. Additively plate copper
    12. Strip photoresist
    13. Clean
    14. Repeat enpsulation and then steps 6-13 for each layer.

    Many products will require more than 4 layers, so we would have a 30+ or so step process. Process speed must be one board per minute to be competitive. It may be possible to use plating, cleaning and develop machines for multiple layers.
    So Charlie, educate me, what am I missing in the Occam process that makes it simple?

    So folks out there, pretend you are Charlie and help me see how the Occam process is simple?

    Dr. Ron