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100 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2021 If you have followed my quixotic pursuit to convince the electronics industry of the many benefits of fabricating electronic assemblies without solder over the last 13-plus years, you are likely (or hopefully) familiar with the struc- tures and methods I have advocated to build what I call Occam process assemblies. e solutions I have offered in my writings (there is more than one way to build such assemblies) can significantly reduce the number of process steps required to manufacture an electronic module or assembly (perhaps by as much as one-third) and in the process make electronic assemblies more reliable and less costly by fundamentally focusing on the elimination of solder and the soldering pro- cess. ose who have been in the electronics manufactur ing industry for any length of time likely know well that solder and the soldering process are the root cause of most defects and failures in electronics. According to one recent sur- vey, approximately 80% of problems experienced in assembly are related to soldering, including not just faulty soldering but also damage to the PCB structure (delami- nation) and damaged plated vias. My effort to teach the Occam process to the electronics industry culminated in a free Process Flow for Occam QFN Test Vehicle book titled, Solderless Assembly For Electron- ics—e SAFE Approach. For those who have not yet downloaded and flipped through the pages of this short book, the Occam Process is fundamentally a reverse order approach to manufacturing electronics assemblies; that is, rather than building a circuit board and solder- ing components to its surfaces, the suggestion is that the industry design and build "compo- nent boards" and then build up the circuits on the assembly. Originally, I called it a Reverse Interconnection Process with "RIP" as its acronym, but quickly realized that such an acronym would not instill con- fidence in prospective users (wink). In my book, I have listed many reasons why it makes arguable sense to adopt the "SAFE" approach, but for the purpose of this column the focus will be on one benefit that is becoming increasingly important: thermal manage- ment of electronic compo- nents. Why? Because heat has always been an enemy of elec- tronic assemblies. Every heat exposure above a certain threshold reduces the long-term reliability of an electronic module by a small amount, those exposures have a cumulative effect, and they add up. Moreover, one of the biggest thermal shocks inflicted on an electron- Flexible Thinking by Joe Fjelstad, VERDANT ELECTRONICS

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