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PCB-Jan2016

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32 The PCB Magazine • January 2016 by Pete Starkey I-ConneCt007 The highlight of the "Speakers' Corner" at the 2015 productronica trade fair in Munich was the presentation by Robin Taylor of Atotech entitled, "Facing Incredible Times Where the Only constant is Change," in which Taylor took a step back from his everyday marketing and technical sales management responsibilities to contemplate what might happen in the sub- strate business over the coming decade, in light of current trends and developments and drivers for the longer term. "Technology is important—but cost is king!" was an inescapable reality as he delved into future packaging styles: small form factors and lightweight technology, and higher perfor- mance with lower cost. Glass and panel-based processing offered further opportunities for cost reduction. "Think sensors!" he advocated, in an- ticipation of a long-term market dominated by mobile, medical and wearable devices, and the Internet of Things. The semiconductor industry was currently going through an unprecedented period of consolidation, driven by increased cost of integrated circuit design and develop- ment and fab construction, as the technology node approached molecular dimensions. In parallel, there was increasing consolidation in outsourced assembly and test, substrate and PCB fabrication, and materials sectors. Innovative techniques were extending the capability of optical lithography to reduce fea- ture size much earlier than the semiconductor industry roadmaps had predicted, and pack- age routing densities were approaching thin film dimensions. Although sub-1 micron line and space widths were achievable in foundries, there was still a gap to be filled by low-cost so- lutions and fan-out wafer level packaging con- cepts presented the prospect of high-volume substrate-less products. The trend in mobile devices towards slim- mer handsets, with larger screens and higher- capacity batteries left less room to accommo- date packages and substrates, which conse- quently had to provide increased functionality in smaller and thinner dimensions, whilst the mechanical properties of their materials would become more critical, particularly in regard of warpage reduction. Copper-pillar and thermo- feature

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