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Advanced Packaging Reshaping PCB Landscape

Can you imagine component packaging so small you can barely see it. And if you accidentally sneeze while trying to see it, it’s literally blown away forever. You’ll never find it.

Active and passive device packaging of those dimensions is what you’ll be dealing with as PCB technology continues to move forward into increasingly smaller real estate.

For example, wearable/IoT PCBs demand such extremely limited area that chipmakers must integrate even greater functionality on a small piece of silicon than ever before.

Fig. 1 shows how minuscule advanced packaging is becoming. In this case, a microCSP is about the size of the letter “L” of the word “liberty” on the face of a dime and is compared to a standard SOT 23 package.

Other packages like microBGAs and such smaller passives as 0201 and 01005 are also continuing to dramatically increase in usage, posing major challenges to PCB assembly. Additionally, package on package (PoP) is making inroads into PCB assembly, thus posing another new and unique set of issues and challenges for both EMS Provider and OEM.

Here are some tips to get you better prepared for these ever shrinking component packaging and effective PCB assembly. For more details, check out our article in SMT Magazine.

  • Maintain stringent manufacturing process control, thermal profiling, advanced paste height inspection, printing, andfirst article inspection or FAI.
  • FAI provides highly critical instant feedback right after a component is place on the PCB.
  • Paste height inspection provides crucial data to verify paste distribution on SM pad’s surface.
  • Stencil design must be perfectly created so paste is accurately dispensed.
  • Thermal profiling is more critical than ever since land pattern and surface mount area is very limited.
  • Cleaning is of utmost importance to assure solder and flux residue is eliminated.

Lastly, ever shrinking advanced package technology falls right on the shoulders of automated optical inspection (AOI) machine manufacturers and spurs them even more to develop new solutions to meet these issues. Basically, AOI inspects the image of a component and recognizes letters and numbers written on a package to confirm verification of the package and its value. Currently relatively small packages like 0603s and 0402s can be read via AOI without any issues, but smaller packaging is coming down the pike.