Book Reviews

ImagePublished by AIM Solders, 2004

AIM has produced a handy 50-page booklet that covers paste, printing, reflow, wave and hand soldering with a glossary and reference section. The booklet is available free to customers. The small pocket booklet is an ideal reference for production, engineering and quality staff and includes some good photographs. It is a simple troubleshooting guide covering most of the common process issues and is similar in style to a series of guides produced by Alpha Metals a couple of years ago. The reference section provides a list of alloys, some of which are lead free, along with tables for cored wire size, paste powder and temperature conversion.

With the growing interest in lead-free soldering and with AIM's knowledge of the subject, how long will it be until a guide is available on lead-free solder assembly?

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ImageDan Beaulieu
Published by UP Media Group, 2003

This A5 booklet on printed board manufacture is now in its fourth edition and is a very useful reference to anyone with an interest in printed boards. It gives a basic overview of board types, materials and production processes in a simple format packed into 70 pages. It is well illustrated with drawings and photographs to outline the manufacturing flow.

The booklet is divided into seven chapters covering industry overview, specifications, design, manufacture and managing the business. Chapter 7 offers a glossary of terms included in the book and generally used throughout the industry. Selected images in the glossary held to illustrate the terms and definitions. My only suggestion to improve the booklet would be the inclusion of more examples. Close-up views of drilled holes, plated sections and some of the defects referred to in the text would be beneficial.

This type of guide takes a lot of time to produce and can be expensive to print and bind, but it is a very high quality offering from UP Media Group. The cost of $35 makes it ideal to include with any basic workshop on PCB manufacture, as there is no better simple guide.

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Produced by Teknoflex
Interactive CD-ROM Format

Teknoflex has been through a number of transitions over the years, but is one of the most established producers of flexible circuits in the UK. They have one of the few reel-to-reel flexible manufacturing lines in Europe, which is impressive to watch in action. Their engineering team has a lot of experience in flex and is passionate about the technology. This free CD-ROM has been a long time in the making and includes much of the information that the company has provided to design engineers over the years in two volumes of well-illustrated text. Although it may just be a sales tool, few CDs like this provide so much useful information.

Flexible circuits are unique as a packaging solution, intriguing to manufacture because of the expansion and contraction of the base materials and a pain to assemble unless you follow correct design rules. Some specific guidelines are included on the CD, but the assembly section could have been more specific since tooling is the key to assembly. Some of the assembly section is weak and very few soldering issues are covered (Although I've found this to be true of the flexible circuits textbooks on the market as well).

It is nice to have a reference to many of the "do's and don'ts" of flex design and manufacture in one place. The material will certainly benefit design departments, but a direct discussion with a flex supplier is still the best approach.

The CD is split into key sections covering: Technologies, Design, Electrical Considerations, Material, Assembly, Quality, Design Checklists, and a Glossary of terms.

The CD-ROM is text-and drawing-based and should have incorporated more photographs to illustrate good and bad design. Video footage of the reel-to-reel facility would have been interesting to many engineers and those with a passing interest in flex. The company does include useful capability information alongside the parameters of the flex materials.

Any design or process engineer will benefit in reviewing the information on this CD. If you want to move on to a book on the subject, try the manuals by Joe Fjelstad.

Lead-Free Electronics—2004 Edition
Edited by Sanka Ganesan & Michael Pecht

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ImageVijay K Varadan, Xiaoning Hang and Vasundara V Varadan
Published by John Wiley & Sons

Over the last few years, the subjects of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanotechnology have garnered a lot of interest, especially in the trade press and on the conference circuit. In recent months, the publisher John Wiley has co-ordinated and published three titles in this new field of electronics.

I chose to review Microstereolithography and Other Fabrication Techniques for 3D MEMS.

First, what is the subject matter all about?

MEMS are basically actuators, micro sensors that can be used to complement existing electronics to help reduce size and cost. They use semiconductor technology to produce these products. One well-known example are the micro mirrors used in data projectors.

The main aim of this text is to discuss the methods of producing parts. It makes good use of images and diagrams to explain the process steps in fabrication. The authors have collected the details and current status of most techniques being researched in the industry. Using dynamic mask projection, researchers have been able to produce wine goblets at 200 um and turbine blades with a diameter of 1300 m.

The final chapter in the book outlines applications such as microvalves, pumps and actuators. The book was interesting and informative, with a large number of illustrations and images to illustrate example products and techniques. However, some of the images were dark or had poor definition.

The other two books in this field from John Wiley & Sons are: Future Trends in Microelectronics - The Nano Millennium by Serge Luryi, Jimmy Xu and Alex Zaslavsky and RF MEMS & Their Applications by Vijay K Varadan, K J Vinoy and K A Jose.

Physical Metallurgy Handbook
By Anil Kumaer Sinha

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ImageJoseph Fjelstad, Reza Ghaffarian and Young-Gon Kim
Published by Electrochemical Publications

Although John Lau authored a title covering chip scale packages (CSPs) in some detail, this is only the second book to deal exclusively with the issues associated with CSPs. The book is a logical progression from the authors' successful introduction of ball grid arrays (BGAs).

I have known Joe Fjelstad for a number of years and look forward to meeting the other contributing authors. The content of the book is strong and timely, but it is a pity that the publisher takes so long to bring books to the marketplace.

Although many textbooks lack good illustrations, this one is full of excellent illustrations and photography. Fjelstad obviously spent a fair bit of time on his computer drawing the graphics, with great results.

Eighteen chapters and a total of 430 pages cover each aspect of CSP technology, including componentry, design, assembly inspection and quality control. The book combines the practical with theory, making it interesting for many different engineering disciplines.

The chapter on the birth of CSP is well written by Young Gon Kim of Tessera, who most would acknowledge as the CSP technology innovators. Reading about the innovations used to produce Tessera's technology and the manufacturing challenges they faced is interesting. Many subtle issues in the design and manufacture of CSPs are now taken for granted.

Some well-known industry gurus have also contributed to the text. The likes of Gilleo, Solberg, Vardaman and Ghaffarian are featured, along with many component producers relating the developments of their package innovations.

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