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82 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2022 Introduction In 1965, Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors that could be pack- aged into a square inch of space would dou- ble every year for the near future. 1 Although his projection was later revised to every 18 months, "Moore's Law" has withstood the test of time for five decades. Today, we are beginning to see obstacles to this type of exponential growth due to the inherent limits associated with silicon lithography, packaging of the devices, and component placement on PCBs. A new electronics packaging method known as application specific electronics package (ASEP) 2 has been developed for applications in the growing electric vehicle (EV) mar- ket. e technology enables the integration of PCBs, connectors, and high-current con- ductors, as well as active and passive compo- nents, into a single device. ASEP assemblies can have multilayer circuitry and three-dimen- Next-Generation Application Specific Modules sional features. ey can be inherently her- metically sealed, manufactured with thermally conductive resins that are effective in dissipat- ing heat, and designed in such a way to bene- fit from the high conductivity of metal to carry high currents and heat, making the process an ideal solution for assemblies that must with- stand elevated temperatures, high currents, and harsh environments. ASEP Manufacturing New and smarter ways of manufacturing electronics, as well as better ways to dissi- pate the heat being generated, must be devel- oped for the electronics industry to continue a robust growth trajectory. ASEP is an additive manufacturing process that builds up the con- ductive patterns on the surface of the plastic substrate, as opposed to etching away the cop- per on a PCB. ermoplastic ASEP substrates can also be remelted and reused. Figure 1 shows the basic Happy's Tech Talk #7 by Happy Holden, I-CONNECT007 Figure 1: ASEP manufacturing process from a) stamping to k) final assembly. The process is continuous and requires roughly half as many process steps as conventional PCB manufacturing. (Source: All images courtesy of Molex/Ford)

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