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PCB-Jan2015

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12 The PCB Magazine • January 2015 by Arjen Koppens Dima grouP B.V. Can the Electronics Industry use 3D Printing? Most of today's electronic products consist of traditionally made parts: plastic molded hous- ings containing PCBs with soldered THT and SMT components. In many cases, even the de- sign of a product is based on the electronics that should fit inside! Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't the electronics be a part of the design based on ergonomics and aesthetics? The only way to establish this is by some- how placing the electronics inside the design. This dictates that the substrate on which the components should be placed would be the in- side of the designed housing itself. Since most housings are of a 3D shape, the components might need to be placed under an angle, but moreover, the interconnections between the components can no longer be on a separate piece of FR-4 material. Also, if we look at the advanced 3D chip packaging level, interconnects are an impor- tant driver. This holds for through-silicon vias (TSVs) for chip stacking, but also for other in- terconnects steps like redistribution layers and solder bumps. Especially in applications with a low number (<100 mm-2) of relatively large fea- tures (10–100 μm diameter) with high aspect ra- tio (up to 1:10), conventional plating processes are slow and become cumbersome with increas- ing aspect ratio, thus becoming cost-ineffective. Hence, industrially feasible, alternative direct- write processes are of interest for advanced in- terconnects. A general trend in IC manufacturing, driven by ever-increasing performance and form factor requirements, is that chips are becoming more and more integrated into very thin packages. Integration takes place at the chip level, on sili- con interposers, and also by integrating ultra- thin chips into foil based devices. FEaturE

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