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MAY 2020 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 23 Johnson: There seems to be a circle of devel- opment here. You're working very closely with the solder paste application companies and the solder paste manufacturers to make sure that you're all communicating appropriately here. We started by talking about how you've proven down to the smallest currently manufacturable component sizes, and that was working in con- cert with multiple vendors in this space. How active or how aggressive are you all in work- ing together? Welch: Pretty well. I've done a fair amount of work with Chrys Shea now, and I've been to MPM many times, mostly as part of our KPO development and testing. I think we all work very well together. Some of the printer and sol- der paste companies have our systems so that they can do SPI in their labs. Johnson: From your perspective, are most of the participants playing well together? Fischthal: We've had some pretty good success with collaboration across the printer suppli- ers. From the SPI standpoint, we have a couple of different ways we can improve the closed- loop communication from basic correction to AI-powered process optimization. When we look at what our KPO is doing, we're working with the major providers, so we're all work- ing together with them to come up with some powerful solutions. Everybody is striving to improve the process. Johnson: Components are going to go smaller, and there are going to be challenges. Where is the spot that needs the most work right now? Welch: I'd say miniaturization. The biggest challenge is inspecting those near-wafer level solder bumps on the little RF devices that go in cellphones and such. They're printing down to stencil apertures of about 3.7 mils with one-mil stencils. They're still being printed with tradi- tional printers; our partners are working with our joint customers to try to get the best pos- sible print process and the best possible solder paste and stencil technology. Johnson: Thank you, gentlemen. Welch: Anytime, sunshine. Fischthal: You're welcome. Thank you very much. SMT007 _____________________ Related Content: True 3D™ SPI Innovations Powered by AI.

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