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Universal Instruments’ APL Hosts Initial 2010 AREA Consortium Meeting

Jul 29, 2010

Universal Instruments’ Advanced Process Lab hosted the first Advanced Research in Electronics Assembly (AREA) Consortium meeting of 2010 at the Treadway Inn in Owego, NY on June 16-17. Nearly 80 attendees from the 29 member companies participated in the two-day event, which will also be presented in subsequent webcasts. Topics ranged from thermal interface assembly to a continuing analysis of lead-free solder microstructure and reliability.

Attending companies included industry leaders such as Plexus, HP, Vicor, Ericsson, Lord Corp., Motorola, IBM, Brocade, Rockwell Automation, DEK, Textron, Northrop Grumman, Indium, Lockheed Martin, Integral Technology, Insulectro, BAE, Dell, OK Int., Multek, Lansmont, Celestica, Curtiss-Wright, Harris, and Creyr. The agenda featured a series of short presentations from the researchers funded by the consortium, and one from consortium member DEK.

The opening-day session began with an update on the effects of print paste volume on drop test performance for 0.4mm-pitch CSPs. The discussion then migrated towards thermal characterizations with a look at the reliability of thermal interface tapes, followed by in-depth studies of unique methods for enhancing the performance of filled-polymeric thermal bond lines to well beyond that quoted in supplier data sheets. This was rounded out by a review of the thermal interface assembly ‘cookbook’ – a living document that is constantly updated based on new research.

The remainder of the first day focused on the overall robustness and reliability of electronics

assemblies under conditions of overstress, thermal and isothermal cycling, long-term aging, and PRESS RELEASE more complex loading histories. As always, a portion of this was devoted to the widely studied BGA and CSP assemblies, but new emphasis was placed on configurations found to behave very differently. “There is a clear need for a better understanding of the behavior of components not arriving with their own solder balls”, stated George Westby, Director of Universal’s Advanced Process Lab. “Several of our members find that TSOP assemblies fail before any of the BGAs on their large printed circuit boards, and lead-free LGAs have been seen to last comparably to or better than the corresponding BGAs. However, we have reason to expect acceleration factors to be very different so we cannot yet predict which will do better under realistic service conditions,” continued Westby.

The agenda continued with two presentations on pad cratering, and an analysis of inter-metallic failures on electrolytic Ni/Au. The following series of presentations examined lead-free solder microstructure and reliability, including detailed discussions on the thermal cycling of lead-free BGAs, TSOPs, QFNs, and solder joints.

“We were delighted to share and discuss the results of all our tests with so many respected technical leaders from across the industry,” stated Westby. “This provides a truly unique forum to better understand these assembly challenges”. Day one of the meeting concluded with an open forum discussion on the 2011 Consortium plans.

The second day of the event began with an update on thermal cycling, and a discussion on why TSOPs, QFNs, LGAs, and passives are all different than BGAs in this regard. The event presentations concluded with a look at the reliability of re-balled components, and lead-free solder joints on ENEPIG pads. Those were followed by the poster session, providing an openforum environment for the Consortia members to discuss a range of current topics. The group then had lunch, followed by a tour of the Advanced Process Lab with continued opportunities for discussion.

Universal Instruments is a global leader in the design and manufacture of advanced automation and assembly equipment solutions for the electronics manufacturing industry. Universal provides complete assembly lines to EMS Providers, ODMs and electronics assemblers around the world, leveraging its portfolio of compatible and flexible equipment platforms that address the diverse requirements of high-speed chip and multifunction placement applications as well as component insertion. Universal Instruments is headquartered in Binghamton, with offices in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

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