Clive Ashmore

Precision mass-alignment of singulated substrates.

Discussion around smaller devices, complex designs and manufacturing challenges as a result of miniaturization: a never-ending story, isn’t it? Truth is, just when it appears the industry has hit a wall in terms of capability, we find a way forward. Yes, miniaturization is rolling on, and the industry continues to overcome perceived obstacles, this time enabling a higher accuracy approach to mass processing of singulated substrates.

Several years ago, the general thinking was components would keep getting smaller. The prevailing view was that by this time, the metric 03015 and the metric 0201 would be working their way into mainstream production. Although the processes to accommodate these small devices have long since been developed, it will likely be some time before they appear on a majority of BoMs. What is happening, though, is manufacturers are trying to eek out slightly more with standard 01005s by placing them closer together, creating a much narrower gap from the edge of one component to the edge of the next. (See “Screen Printing,” December 2020.) These narrow gap designs – which today see pitches of approximately 100µm with 75µm on the horizon – in combination with the other elements of miniaturization require much tighter alignment tolerances in the stencil printing to ensure solder paste hits the pad target.

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