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18 SMT Magazine • February 2017 The new solder paste Al- pha is developing has a modi- fied flux chemistry that enables us to minimize the reactions be- tween the flux and other mate- rials in the solder and on the surface finishes to minimize the amount of voids forming in the first place. This will be particu- larly helpful to the automotive market because we've had sev- eral discussions with key cus- tomers during the year on the impact voiding has on reliabil- ity. The solder preforms in de- velopment contain an ultra-low voiding flux formulation that is deposited very accurately from preform to preform ensuring repeatable performance every time. They will be available in tape and reel for easy assembly in SMT reflow applications and, upon request, can contain various coating levels, customized shapes and thicknesses to address a specific ap- plication. Las Marias: What market development trends are shaping product innovation strategies at Alpha? Hunsinger: We are seeing a great deal of material innovation for the flexible, formable and print- ed electronics sector and Alpha is developing a robust portfolio of new products and technol- ogies to specifically meet the demanding per- formance and reliability requirements of flexi- ble and printed electronic circuits. This is one of the fastest growing technologies in the world and is allowing electronics to be used in plac- es it never has before, so we are quickly learn- ing how to make materials that are adequate for this new environment. Our product devel- opment falls within two broad categories. First, with flexible PCBs which involves assembly of conventional components, such as ICs or pro- cessors, onto circuited flexible substrates. The second would be printed electronics/circuits on flexible polymer films in which the flexible cir- cuits are additively printed on a polymer base film, typically through a continuous roll-to-roll process or through a high throughput sheet-to- sheet process which is then fol- lowed by other subsequent pro- cesses. Las Marias: What other solder solutions should we expect from Alpha this year? Hunsinger: In addition to what was already mentioned, Al- pha will be introducing a new solder paste, a cleanable, no- clean material with fine feature printing capabilities that is de- rived from the SAC family of alloys. We also have our latest VOC-free, halide-free flux com- ing out soon that is designed to meet current REACH and RoHS legislation. And we also have a few other pre- form technologies coming to market, one that is geared toward power module assembly and the other focused on bond line control to pre- vent die tilt and help fix your bond line thick- ness. Las Marias: How does Alpha provide value to your customers? Hunsinger: One of Alpha's key differentiators is the strength of our technical service, both from an R&D standpoint where we are designing ma- terials that meet today's challenges and future challenges as well, and from our customer tech- nical support group in the field. This team is solely dedicated to working with customers to troubleshoot application problems, identifying key factors in their process and helping them select the right materials for their application. This is how we understand our customers' chal- lenges, how we help resolve the challenges and ultimately, how we help them meet the chal- lenges of their own customer base. Las Marias: What is your outlook for the soldering market this year? Hunsinger: I think the outlook is promising for the solder market given the upward demand from EMS companies. We anticipate growth Tom Hunsinger ALPHA ON NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO TACKLE VOIDING

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