caLogo

For spread and wetting performance, certain finishes stand out. 

Electronic assemblers have myriad material and process choices to make, not limited to board materials, solder masks, laminate Tg’s, components, surface finishes, assembly materials and design for manufacturing (DfM) process conditions. High-reliability alloys such as Innolot are designed to meet harsh automotive conditions and extend service life of the solder joint. Applications requiring higher operating temperatures and increased number of cycles to failure have benefited by implementing that alloy. While solder alloy selection is an important factor in determining reliability of the solder joint, considerations should be made for surface finish selection to further enhance performance. This study explores surface finish factors such as IMC formation, voiding and solder spread that contribute to reliability.

Each choice can have a significant impact on the in-service reliability and commercial success of the assembly. This multi-part article will focus on data developed from an extensive study of surface finishes and solder pastes used by many global, high-reliability assembly manufacturers. The study included two commonly used solder alloys in paste form:

  1. SAC 305 (96.5%Sn, 3%Ag, 0.5%Cu) powder size distribution (PSD) type 4 with novel “CVP-390” paste flux
  2. Innolot (91.95%Sn, 3.8%Ag, 0.7%Cu, 3.0%Bi, 1.4%Sb, 0.15%Ni) PSD type 4 with the novel paste flux and five variations of surface finishes, including

a. Organic solderability preservative (OSP) (MacDermid Enthone Entek Plus HT) using two thickness levels
b. Immersion tin (Ormecon CSN)
c. Immersion silver (MacDermid Enthone Sterling)
d. Electroless nickel/immersion gold (ENIG) (MacDermid Enthone Affinity).

To continue reading, please log in or register using the link in the upper right corner of the page.

Read more ...

When it comes to contamination analysis, things are not always as they appear. 

In the failure analysis of electronics assemblies, we are often asked to perform a failure analysis on hardware that has undergone a significant thermal event. Hardware might be burned, melted or covered in debris. Determining a root cause for failure can be extremely difficult when the hardware itself is so damaged that much of the evidence has been destroyed. So, what can you do? Like many things, it depends. The success of the failure analysis depends on the overall degree of damage, the amount and type of secondary damage, and the history of the part. Over the years, we have developed some tools and techniques to get the most out of these challenging failure analysis requests.

The first step in these types of investigations is to manage expectations. Most customers will understand that much of the evidence was destroyed during the thermal event failure and that root cause analysis will be very difficult. It is important to discuss what types of information can be gained, however, and what may not be possible. It is also critical to get as much information as possible about the history of the part and any details about the failure itself. This proactive discussion will help lead the investigation in the “right” direction and avoid going down a path that will not yield useful information. For example, if some of the metallic hardware is corroded, it is important to know the storage environment of the unit, not just temperature and humidity, but also the amount of time the unit was stored and its relative orientation. The product history information is useful to separate damage caused by the failure versus damage that occurred before or after the failure.

To continue reading, please log in or register using the link in the upper right corner of the page.

Read more ...

Covid grabbed all the headlines in 2020, but other longer-term stories began to emerge. 

For most, 2020 can be summed in one term, and that term is Covid-19, of course. The pandemic disrupted supply lines, shut down factories around the world, and pushed many companies to the brink of financial collapse, to say nothing of the extraordinary and tragic loss of life.

Covid affected everything, but the rebound was sharp and quick. Manufacturers reconfigured assembly lines to tool up for medical devices like ventilators and face masks. The financial hit from the viral tsunami that erupted from China, which undertook a nationwide shutdown in February 2020, and rippled throughout Europe and North America in the following months, led to ugly June quarters for most. Certain industries, such as commercial aerospace, have yet to recover. Yet by the fourth quarter most markets had returned to life, and balance sheets were for many firms not only looking better sequentially, but even year-over-year.

To continue reading, please log in or register using the link in the upper right corner of the page.


Backend processes such as routing and coating can be optimized for cost savings. 

There is no question a number of countries have manufacturing costs lower than the US. At first glance, the cost differential may make outsourcing in those regions the best solution. When the total costs of logistics, transit time, flexibility and quality of communication are considered, however, the cost differential of a Made in USA solution vs. an offshore or nearshore solution can be small. The engineering team at Electronic Design & Manufacturing, a regional electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider in Lynchburg, VA, has worked to level that playing field even more.

The engineering analysis starts by mapping the process flow and evaluating the cost drivers in the assembly process. While this level of analysis is routine for high-volume, dedicated line projects within the EMS industry, it isn’t always done thoroughly in midrange projects. This typically happens because companies building those projects lack the engineering resources necessary to develop cost-effective custom automation solutions.

To continue reading, please log in or register using the link in the upper right corner of the page.

Read more ...

Solving “track and trace” problems, even in reverse.

To get a sense for how blockchain can address issues in the electronics industry, it may help to start with a story about an earlier technology. A young electrical engineer in 1980 had a job interview with an industry veteran who asked if he had ever heard of a thing called a “vacuum tube.” The young engineer admitted his semiconductor class had included a one-hour lecture demonstrating how field-effect transistors worked like vacuum tubes.

“When I was in college, they made us take a semester of tube theory because they thought it might be useful some day!” the veteran exclaimed. His outburst highlighted a common theme in emerging technology. More than 50 years later, it was easy for the next generation of engineers to see the number of new products enabled by vacuum tubes, even though by that time solid-state devices had already largely replaced them. But during the 1920s, when vacuum tubes represented the latest innovation in technology, it was difficult to see they would lead to radar, FM stereo, television, and rock concerts. In the same way, it’s doubtful the creators of the internet anticipated using it to watch videos, hail rides, or monitor a newborn baby in the crib.  Even those of us lucky enough to apply the latest advancements in technology are unlikely to foresee all the ways new technology will be applied.  

To continue reading, please log in or register using the link in the upper right corner of the page.

Read more ...

Updates in silicon and electronics technology.

Ed.: This is a special feature courtesy of Binghamton University.

IMEC and Intel researchers develop spintronic logic device. Spintronics is a budding path in the quest for a future beyond CMOS. Devices use much less power than their CMOS counterparts and keep their data unpowered. IMEC and Intel researchers have created a spintronic logic device that can be fully controlled with electric current rather than magnetic fields. An electron’s spin generates a magnetic moment, and when many electrons with identical spins are close together, their magnetic moments can align and join forces to form a larger magnetic field. Such a region is called a magnetic domain, and the boundaries between domains are called domain walls. A material can consist of many such domains and domain walls, assembled like a magnetized mosaic. (IEEC file #12091, Semiconductor Digest, 1/21/21)

Plasmonics: A new way to link processors with light. Plasmonic transceivers transfer large amounts of data between processors. Fiberoptic links are the main method of slinging data between computers in data centers. Silicon photonics components are large in comparison to their electronic counterparts because optical wavelengths are much larger than transistors and copper interconnects. University of Toronto and Arm researchers have developed new silicon transceiver components that rely on plasmonics instead of photonics. The results have transceivers capable of at least double the bandwidth, while consuming 33% of the energy and 20% of the area, and could be built atop the processor. (IEEC file #12097, IEEE Spectrum, 1/21/21)

To continue reading, please log in or register using the link in the upper right corner of the page.

Read more ...

Page 4 of 66

Don't have an account yet? Register Now!

Sign in to your account