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Electronics Assembly Process Challenges with Miniaturization

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    Hitesh Rao, Product Specialist – Solder Paste, and Phil Zarrow discuss the impact of miniaturization on current assembly processes and what products Indium Corporation has developed to respond to these challenges.

    Phil Zarrow: Hitesh, we know the trend towards miniaturization continues, mostly driven by the telecom industry. We've seen, of course, components getting smaller and smaller and there's a lot of implications to the process.

    Hitesh Rao: Phil, you're right. Everything these days is moving towards miniaturization, everything from mobile phones to wearables to the Internet of Things. You name it and it's moving towards miniaturization. As this happens, it affects all aspects of the assembly process. Everything these days from components to PCB boards to stencils, solder materials, printing, pick-and-place, reflow - all these have to move in line with miniaturization.

    Phil Zarrow: As we hear about this, we think of the components and in terms of the assembly process the first thing that comes to mind is pick-and-place. We have to be able to handle these, but the implications go beyond that. In fact, the impact probably equal if not greater than pick-and-place is probably on the solder deposition process.

    Hitesh Rao: As far as solder paste is concerned, it is very important to achieve a good solder paste deposition to get a very good assembly yield for these fine pitch components. Apart from that, specifically speaking of solder paste, various aspects of the solder paste affects its ability to print these fine pitch components.

    Hitesh Rao: Right from the solder paste flux rheology to the printer settings, the stencil design and thickness, and many more, so you're right there.

    Phil Zarrow: We think about this, so the implications on the assembler is that, if they want to take on these subminiature components, essentially, you're talking about a redevelopment of your process, you know, process development.

    Hitesh Rao: You're right, Phil, and one thing which I really want to show you, when we are talking about fine pitch components printing, is these metric 0201s. A few years ago I saw the 0201s and I was like, "There's no way it's getting smaller than this." I like to keep this in my wallet to show it off to my friends whenever we talk about the latest trends in technology, and it always amazes them to see how small these are. It's a struggle for them because they can barely see it.

    Phil Zarrow: So, these are the metric 0201s otherwise known as the SAE 01005s.

    Phil Zarrow: So, along the lines of the solder paste to deal with these, what are some of the things Indium Corporation has developed?

    Hitesh Rao: One product which I specially want to mention here is the Indium11.8HF-SPR. As you said right at the start, Phil, this trend of miniaturization is largely driven by the telecom industry and this product, Indium11.8HF-SPR, was specially formulated to cater to the mobile phone industry. It is excellent for fine pitch printing of components. Apart from that, Indium Corporation offers the Type 6 SG powder size and we are always working to have finer pitch powders.

    Phil Zarrow: Hitesh, where can we find out more information on this?

    Hitesh Rao: For more information, you can visit our website www.indium.com. It has various blogs and videos showing you more about miniaturization and fine pitch printing. Apart from that, you can contact me at hrao@indium.com.

    Phil Zarrow: Hitesh, thank you very, very much.

    Hitesh Rao: Thank you very much, Phil.

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