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12 SMT007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2018 merits that will continue to maintain viability in the electronics industry. Here is my list of top five characteristics: 1. Application flexibility and agility: Sol- der can be readily made and applied in various physical forms, including bar, ingot, wire, powder, preform, solder sphere, solder column, paste, ink, and in a molten state. 2. Compatibility: Soft solder alloys fit into the process temperature range that electronic components—such as integrated circuits (ICs), passives, and optoelectronic devices—and the internal structure of the PCB are designed for and can withstand. Any other joining techniques (e.g., brazing, welding) need a much higher process tem- perature that is unsuitable for elec- tronic components and PCBs. 3. Practicality: Solder alloys have the required environmen- tal stability during manufacturing and in service (e.g., not prone to exces- sive oxidation, not corrosive, not unduly toxic). 4. Performance: A solder alloy— specifically a tin-based alloy with designed compositions—deliv- ers the required physical prop- erties (e.g., melting temperature, thermal and electrical conductiv- ity, wetting ability, surface tension) and mechanical properties (e.g., strength, creep resistance, thermal fatigue resistance). 5. Cost and competitiveness: Sol- der alloys and soldering processes in the SMT infrastructure can be readily synchronized with intel- SMT Prospects & Perspectives by Dr. Jennie S. Hwang, CEO, H-TECHNOLOGIES GROUP My last column—"Artificial Intelligence: Super-Exciting, Ultra-Competitive" (SMT007 Magazine, September 2018)—described compelling needs of the next gener- ation of hardware in the artificial intelligence (AI) era. Upcoming AI hardware requires advanced semi- conductors, packaging approaches, new architectures, increased speeds and capabilities of inference process- ing, and system design and manufac- turing prowess continually developed to reach the interconnect density. Against this backdrop, packaging and assembly levels—including sur- face-mount technology (SMT)—will continue to be critical technology and serve as the backbone of manufac- turing electronic hardware to deliver desired products with enhanced min- iaturization, functionality, and aug- mented intelligence promptly. The SMT electronics manufactur- ing sector with OEMs and EMSs alike has overcome many challenges in the past. I do not doubt that we will tack- le new challenges head-on to produce the required hardware in the AI era. Under the established infrastructure, will soldering (reflow, wave, selec- tive, etc.) remain a necessary tech- nique? Soldering—the process to make solder joints—sounds like an ancient technique and is typically deemed unglamorous. However, substantial innovations and refinements in pro- cess and equipment have been made over the last three decades. Solder- ing offers an array of characteristics that bear both scientific and practical SMT Manufacturing: Why Soldering?

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