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Advanced Packaging: New Ballgame for PCB Design and Assembly

Advanced packaging is changing the name of the game as far as PCB design and layout and introducing new and challenging issues to the EMS Provider and Contract Manufacturer (CM). The photo below of a microCSP on top of a dime comparing it to a conventional SOT 23 package tells you how small device packaging is these days.

But it’s not only microCSPs that are posing issues at design, fab, and assembly. OEMs and their design and assembly partners also have to deal with microBGAs and such tiny passives as 0201 and 01005 devices, which are increasing in usage. The message to CMs and EMS Providers is loud and clear.

The ultimate goal is to develop and maintain stringent manufacturing process control that includes not only state-of-the-art AOI, but also thermal profiling, advanced paste height inspection techniques, printing, and most important, first article inspection (FAI).

Check out the online June issue of SMT Magazine at to learn more about advanced packaging. In particular, read our article titled ‘Advanced Packages Change PCB Landscape.’ It’ll give you a broad look at these evolving board changes. In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to get a basic understanding of what’s needed when it comes to advanced packaging for your PCB projects.

  • Assure that your CM or EMS Provider has the most up-to-date AOI systems that can effectively handle advanced packaging.
  • If your boards populated with microCSPs or microBGAs are subjected to manual inspection, better start looking for a new CM or EMS Provider.
  • Ensure youíre getting first article inspection (FAI) to assure correct placement.
  • Paste height inspection and advanced printers with vision systems must be used to verify paste distribution and inspect paste on the pads.
  • Assure your boards are tested in a modular batch fashion and not using standalone test points on SM pads as test points.
  • Make sure batch cleaning with saponifiers or other cleaning chemistry is used on your boards.

Lastly, package on package or PoP is gaining popularity and creating concerns among PCB assemblers. In effect, PoP is stacking one advanced package device on top of another with special glue to hold them together. First of all, the CM has to make sure the first component is assembled correctly and that the second one is properly stacked on the first one. Then, a special thermal profile must be developed specifically tailored for that PoP stack.