Just in time for the Super Bowl and like the “Stub Hub” commercial below, in Figure 1 (VIDEO), above “You can’t have your Fan-out in here”. So what’s all this hype on Fan-out Wafer Level Packaging (FO-WLP)?
“Let your Fan out:Boo-Yah1"
FAN IN WLP
First, let us define Fan-In WLP.
Fan In WLP means the flip chip interconnects are within the outline of the die as shown in Figure 2. Typically, integrated circuit die have peripheral I/O bonding pads, which are routed to a “X-Y” grid in rows and columns as shown in Figure 2 above. This is accomplished by adding another thin film conductor layer over a polyimide passivation called a redistribution layer (RDL).
Infineon Fan out wafer Process (eWLP)1,2 as shown in Figure 3
Fan Out WLP means that the flip chip interconnects extend outside the outline of the example 3 mm die as shown in Figure 4. By extending the connections outside the die outline, a reduced I/O pitch is obtained.
Why Fan out WLP?1
WHY IS FAN OUT WLP SO IMPORTANT2,3?
Eliminates die interconnect (bumps and wire bonds) and substrate
Dan Tracy, SEMI, stated, “packaging is a key enabler of functionality in the mobile space ─ due to thin, small form factor multi-die and SiP applications growing. He also stressed that Fan-out wafer-level packaging (FO-WLP) is disruptive and will have a significant impact on the consumption of semiconductor packaging materials in the coming years.”
Europlacer wins on technology and genuine customer service
Founded in 1998, Advanced Circuit Technology, Inc. (ACT) is a contract manufacturing company located in Rochester, NY that offers electronic manufacturing services for circuit card assembly, thick-film hybrid circuit design and manufacturing, box build final electronic assembly, and testing.
ACT prides itself on delivering solutions to complex electronic design and manufacturing problems. The company has extensive experience with advanced electronic assemblies and constantly pursues new customers to take advantage of its capabilities. ACT can design, prototype and deliver hybrids in as little as two weeks and it offers prototype through production services on all electronic assemblies. Furthermore, its facility has the capacity to increase its current production level, allowing the company to service new customers while satisfying the growing needs of its current customers. From prototype to production, ACT offers turnkey solutions and an uncompromising policy that customer satisfaction is its number one priority.
In order to keep that priority, ACT is on the constant lookout for the latest and greatest technologies to support its growing list of new and existing customers. And it was on such a mission that ACT came across Europlacer North America. The relationship began on the show floor of the 2012 IPC APEX EXPO and has grown and strengthened since then, providing numerous benefits for both partners.
Bob Kajfasz, ACT’s Vice President, recalled, “We were pleasantly surprised to find Europlacer at the 2012 IPC APEX EXPO. Originally, we attended the show with the intention of learning more about Europlacer’s competitors. However, some of our team members took part in a demo and, by the end, they were sold.”
Kajfasz added that after visiting Europlacer’s competitor during the exhibition, the company decided that Europlacer was a better fit. “The competition was busy every time we stopped by their booths. Europlacer’s booth also was busy; however, its staff was quick to respond to our questions and was willing to work with us on a package that was ideal for us. Our operators liked what they saw in the iineo-II because it was more of a production machine designed for use in our high-mix environment. It was set up similarly to the competition’s systems, but we could not find a system that matched all of Europlacer’s features. Europlacer has a better feeder design concept, making it more straightforward and easier to use.”
Peter Elia, ACT’s Sales Manager, commented that the iineo-II has provided amazing accuracy of placement and speed. The Europlacer speed, in combination with ACT’s skilled operators, robust sales and marketing efforts, has allowed ACT to be able to bid and win higher volume jobs and reduce pricing to make the company more competitive. “Due to this purchase, we can now move boards four to five times faster. Additionally, we are producing in one day what we previously were accomplishing in a week’s time.”
“Changing to a new process can be challenging,” said Kajfasz. “Europlacer’s crew made it easy, however, and the equipment was both straightforward and easy to work with. There is a learning curve with new feeders, software and new equipment that makes upfront customer support that much more important. Europlacer provided us with everything we needed and continues to do so, even a year into our partnership.”
Elia said, “We are a small company, which has always allowed us to respond quickly to customer demands and now we have the equipment and throughput of a much larger company that makes us as competitive as anyone in the industry. When customers come through our facility and see our processes, we are able to tell them that we can compete with anyone — including the big companies — because of the speed, accuracy and rapid changeover capability of the Europlacer system. We are strengthening our business relationships because they know that we have great, high-end equipment that is designed for the work they are asking us to perform. The accuracy of Europlacer is really amazing.”
“The Europlacer is a game changer for us that helps position ACT to a new level of production,” concluded Elia. “Productivity and genuine customer service simply define how Europlacer and ACT are ahead of the curve.”
Just like the quotation in the movie “Apollo 132” and in real life, we design things not to fail. Your “friend” Murphy and Murphy Law ’s3 (see Figure 1 below) is out there waiting for you.
As a consultant, I get called on during various phases of a project to perform “failure analysis”.
Each phase of a project has unique failure signature patterns. Just like the bathtub curve in Figure 2, we see more “failures” in the initial design, development and early production “ramp up” phase.
As these failures are resolved, lower number of failures are exhibited throughout most of the product life cycle. Toward the “wear out” or legacy –“end of life” build there is an increase in failures until the end of the product life.
Figure 1 Murphy’s Law
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Design Engineers! Why Use Current Sensing & Shunt Resistors?Posted on March 13, 2015 | By Rick Grigalunas | Leave a response
Design Engineers! Why Use Current Sensing
& Shunt Resistors?
To Know the amount of current being delivered to a load
"New Technology Challenges in Military/Space Microcircuits" Tom Green and Tom Terlizzi - April 1,2014
A major problem in fielding state-of-the-art military and space electronic systems is the lack of militarized electronic components and their swift obsolescence.1
A Brief History
This article describes a brief history of commercial product use by government man- dates, industry solutions and the obstacles encountered in the development of high- reliability products.
Rapidly evolving RF microwave products, the back-and-forth with hermetic/non-her- metic packaging and new military/NASA “Class Y” initiatives are recent examples.
Almost 20 years ago, Dr. William Perry, Sec- retary of Defense at the time, introduced the famous (or infamous) “Perry Memo/ Mandate.”2
The primary motivation behind this memo was the perception that ICs purchased to military specifications (MIL-Spec) add to the cost of doing business.
In addition, substantial economies of scale could be realized by taking advantage of lower cost commercial ICs. The use of commercial ICs was seen as a way to obtain better access to the newest technologies, both in state-of-the-art availability and lead-time to acquire.”3
IC Market Forecast to Reach ~2.68B
As shown in Figure 1 (above), the government/military IC market is forecast to reach ~$2.68 billion in 2017. This would then represent only ~ 0.8% of the total IC market (~$350 billion), the same percent- age as in 2011.4
This trend is the reason many semicon- ductor vendors are exiting the military and space products markets. The economics cannot support the infrastructure to deal with these products in low-volume and low- revenue content.
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In my travels, I always get hit with many unique problems, situations and company politics. Like the famous TV detective Columbo (see Figure 1) you have to try to find the “root cause” of the problem in spite of all the noise. Recently, I had a few skirmishes with absolute maximum ratings (AMR) where there were hiccups after many years of successful electronic circuit operation.
Typically other manufacturer’s devices replaced the semiconductor parts or the original manufacturer changed their semiconductor fab, assembly operation, or die size. Of course as “Murphy’s Law” predicts the AMR margin was compromised.
The definition of absolute maximum ratings (AMR) is listed below to refresh your memory.
Maximum rating: A rating that establishes either a limiting capability or a limiting condition beyond which damage to the device may occur. (Ref. IEC 747-1.)
Absolute maximum rated voltage: The maximum voltage that may be applied to a device, as listed in its data sheet and beyond which damage (latent or otherwise) may occur; device manufacturers for a specific device and/or technology frequently specify it.
“What are the Factors used to determine AMR4”?
Listed below are the dominant factors as well as device qualification testing and simulation.
None! And integrated circuits (ICs) are not fortune tellers.
An IC's absolute maximum rating is the limit of the conditions under which it may be operated. Operation beyond these limits will damage it and may destroy it.
How far beyond the limits is never stated. Some devices are very robust, some are not, but no manufacturer will provide support for deviation from the limits. The only safe rule is to treat "never" as never. But understanding why exceeding absolute maximum limits can cause damage allows us to design better systems5”
Watch Out For Temperature Ratings of AMR
“Unless otherwise specified, an ambient temperature of 25 ± 3 °C is assumed for all absolute maximum ratings6”
An example of AMR temperature dependence is the breakdown voltage (BVDss) of a MOSFET as shown in Figure 2.a & b at -50°C V(BR)DSS which is about 90% of the 25°C maximum VDSS.7” and for the 60 Volt MOSFET about 77.5 volts at 200°C.
Review Manufacturer’s AMR notes on Complex Mixed Signal Switching Regulator parts in Chip Scale Packages (CSP)
As an example, the TPS6265x device is a high-frequency synchronous step-down dc-dc converter optimized for battery-powered portable applications. The Absolute Maximum Ratings table in the device data sheet specifies dc limits to voltages or currents that may be applied to the device pins. (See Figure 3).
“For the SW node (see Figure 4), the maximum voltage rating refers to the maximum voltage that can be applied before the oxide layer in the low-side MOSFET silicon begins to break down and causes a short between the drain and source. However, the negative voltage rating for the SW node refers to the parasitic p-n junction in the low-side MOSFET, which forms its body diode. During switching operation, the negative rating is exceeded due to the operating principles of a synchronous buck converter. This does not violate the absolute maximum rating, because the current causing the voltage excursion is applied by the output inductor during switching operation. In the case of a source other than the output inductor, the -0.3-V voltage rating should never be exceeded. A dc source, if supplying a voltage lower than -0.3 V, could theoretically source infinite current through the body diode, which could damage the MOSFET7”
Watch out for Thermal AMR on miniature CSP
Take care with the thermal AMR requirements for miniature CSPs. These devices can respond quickly to thermal transient loads and trigger the threshold thermal shutdown temperature, which can cause havoc to troubleshooting your design.
Finally, a large percentage of your problems and failures can be avoided by reviewing the AMR from the data sheet. When in doubt contact the manufacturer’s application engineer but as always double-check any advice.
Figure 2a - Normalized Breakdown Voltage (BVDss) of a MOSFET versus Temperature
FIGURE 1 Master Dice Bread Board (LEFT) Figure 2 Schematic of the available devices on the chip (RIGHT)
Since the birth of monolithic integrated circuit (IC) technology, analog circuit designers have looked for a quick path to new precision, compact and low cost system designs. This approach would integrate many of the standard IC functions into a new highly integrated semi-custom monolithic chip. The cost of afull custom chip was too expensive in those early days.
The first baby steps in the early 1960s was "discretionary wiring" on bipolar "master dice breadboards" using gold ball wire bonds. These were intended as prototype devices.Figure 1 shows a chip without the wire bond interconnect and Figure 2 shows the schematic of the "breadboard chip" components. Figure 3 shows a "breadboard chip" with a rat's nest of wire bonds. If breadboarding was successful, the chip would be metalized for production.
Figure 3 The chip configured as a prototype IF amplifier
As the analog chips became more complicated, this approach was later replaced with the "master slice" process using one or two metal layers to interconnect the transistors, resistors, and capacitors as a semi-custom design (see Figure 4). Interdesign/Ferranti/Zetex (now Diodes Inc.) popularized the "Mono-Chip." Many other semiconductor companies had similar semi-custom bipolar analog arrays.
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Figure 1: Is Heath kit back?
My last assignment for a client inadvertently “propelled” me into the world of “Do it yourself” (DIY). My task was to propose an “inexpensive” way of adding Mini-USB functionality with a 32 bit ARM Cortex-M4 processor. Also required was a “MAC” computer interface to a legacy product with out changing anything, costing anything and with zero development cost. So, I entered and interrogated several DIY web sites (see Table I below).
Today, there is a growing trend today in DIY as evidenced by the ten of thousands attending the2013 Maker Faire in the Bay Area last month. “The Faire draws tinkerers, inventors, artists, engineers, Burners — and those who love to see their work. A knot of traffic surrounded the fairgrounds stretching out to the freeway as an estimated 100,000 attended the two-day event2. Why all this “hullabaloo” on DIY?”
I have seen several articles (see list below), which tend to explain this DIY culture as being fueled by Moore’s law, the Internet, and the ease of information in tutorials and “YouTube Video”. In our generation we didn’t have the low cost computer power, easy access to information and “bread boarding ” resources, which are available to today’s tinkerers, inventors, artists, and engineers.
Will this DIY trend spark life from bankruptcy into Heath Kit? Take a look at the survey (see Figure 1 & 2) and the Heath Kit FAQ web link.In any event, I selected a low cost entry-level Mini-USB kit form PJRC for $19 (not including shipping). The Teensy USB Development Board is a complete USB-based micro-controller development system. Version 3.0 features a 32-bit ARM processor as shown in Figure 3. If you have any other suggestions or ideas please email me.
Figure 3: USB DEVELOPMNET BOARD 1.4” by 0.7”
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Figure 1 thick film chip Figure 2 thin film chip
“Through Thick and Thin1…Film Resistors of Course”
I was recently asked a few questions on SMT chip resistors.
What is the difference between thick and thin film resistors?
How thick is a thick film resistor?
Let’s first discuss what is the thickness of a “thick film” versus a “thin film”. A traditional dimensional2 dividing line has been ~5μm (~0.2 mils or ~50,000Å Angstrom3). Thick films are typically 10-50 μm thick and thin films are from 10 nm-2 μm in thickness. However, a more functional definition, based on the resistor fabrication technique, is described below.
Thick film resistors (Figure 1) are fabricated with an additive process where conductive; dielectrics, and resistive materials are “silk screened” with a pattern onto an alumina ceramic substrate. Electrodes are deposited with a conductive material and fired into the ceramic at about 850°C. Next the resistive film is deposited and fired. The resistor is designed on the low side (~ -20%) so that laser cuts during trimming will increase the resistance and bring it into value. The resistor is then coated, and metalized on its edges and plated.
Thin film (or metal film) (Figure 2) resistors are fabricated with a subtractive process where conductive, insulative, and resistive materials are vacuum deposited and selectively etched with a photographic pattern onto an alumina ceramic substrate. The resistor is then laser trimmed (Figure 3), coated, and metalized on its edges and plated.
Figure 3 Laser trim cuts4
The electrical attributes of some of the common resistor fabrication technologies are shown in Table I below.
Table I Resistor Fabrication Technology versus Electrical Characteristics5
“As a result, thick film resistors are generally cheaper than their thin film counterparts, but the tolerance and temperature coefficients one can get out of thin film resistors are generally better. Depending on the materials used, there is plenty of overlap between the two, but all things equal, thin film offer better performance for a cost premium.”6
1 Wise Geek, What are the Origins of the Phrase "Through Thick and Thin"?
2 Mil-Std-883 TM 2010 paragraph 3f 38 & 39
3 Wikipedia Angstrom
4 Questech AN009-Thick and thin film Resistor trimming Application note
5 “Strengths and weaknesses of common resistor types” Yuval Hernik, Vishay Intertechnology 5/31/2010
6 “Difference between thin film and thick-film precision surface mount resistors”
For Further Reading
PANASONIC SURFACE MOUNT RESISTORS TECHNICAL GUIDE
Selecting the best resistor technology for the application Yuval Hernik, Director Application Engineering, Vishay Precision Group (VPG) - December 17, 2012 EDN Blog
The Electronics Handbook, Second Edition section 2.1 Resistive elements
Edited by Jerry C. Whitaker CRC Press, Apr 27, 2005
Resistor Links on my web site
See EDN BLOG
Principal author is Tom Terlizzi VP at GM Systems a Management and Technology consulting firm, providing Business & Strategic plans, Acquisitions, Marketing & Sales strategy, Product development for electronics, microelectronic and proposal support. Various guest author on technology topics are also presented