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72 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 Averatek recently launched Mina™, a chem- istry that offers exciting benefits over tradition- al methods of soldering to aluminum. I had the opportunity to speak with Divyakant Kadiwa- la, director of manufacturing at Averatek, to learn more. Tara Dunn: Divyakant, I am excited to learn more about Mina™. Before we start, could you introduce Averatek and your role there? Divyakant Kadiwala: Averatek is a high-tech company based in Santa Clara, California. It was founded by SRI International and private investors. It has two primary products: LMI™, a catalytic ink that enables the fabrication of very high-density circuits with the patented A-SAP™ process, and Mina™, a surface treat- ment that enables soldering to aluminum. I am the director of manufacturing, and my role in- cludes overseeing process engineering, quality control, facilities management, and business development. Lately, I have been concentrat- ing on promoting Mina™. Dunn: It sounds like you are busy. I am sure it is exciting to be working with new product devel- opment. Can you please explain Mina™ for us? Kadiwala: Absolutely. Mina™ is a unique sur- face treatment that en- ables soldering to alu- minum just as is done to copper and even at low temperatures. The reason this is unique is that, normally, there is an oxide that is present on all aluminum surfac- es that inhibits solders from bonding with the core metal. To tackle this oxide, processes ex- ist that involve a series of etchants and treat- ments that remove this oxide. This is common- ly called the zincate process. Once the oxide is removed, the surface is plated with a noble metal finish like ENIG or ENEPIG to cover the surface and protect it from forming a new oxide layer. Mina™ eliminates the need for all the wet chemistry and surface finishes. It is printed onto the pads using a stencil printer and cured at low temperatures. Cured Mina™ is non-con- ductive, so this leaves the pads with a uniform coat of Mina™. This helps with easy print regis- tration, should the trace and space of a compo- nent's pads be too tight. After this, the boards Mina: Enabling Soldering to Aluminum Flex Talk by Tara Dunn, OMNI PCB Divyakant Kadiwala

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