In the News


Companies Leave Dover Corp.

BINGHAMTON, NY - In a mutually-agreed upon restructuring move, Universal Instruments Corp. left Dover Corporation’s portfolio of technology businesses. “Universal supports the corporate split, and will announce a new owner soon,” said Jeroen Schmits, president of Universal.

Universal will focus specifically on component assembly, a fundamental sector in their rearranged business model. Universal merged its Advanced Semiconductor Assembly (ASA) with Hover Davis and other divisions, creating a business named Unovis that will focus on specialized “process and assembly solutions,” said Schmits. He explained that Unovis has capabilities for prototyping through beta stages of development, while Universal handles elements from beta through ramp. Unovis will incorporate “concept, feasibility, definition, and implementation” elements of product developments, according to George Westby, director of SMT laboratory and area array consortium, Unovis. Westby stated that the company will provide extensive research capabilities, especially in lead-free analysis. The new business will manage their own corporate services, and legally belong to Universal.

Dover also announced the sale of Vitronics Soltec, a soldering systems company, as part of corporate restructuring. Dover’s plans for growth may include discarding PCB assembly futures and capital equipment areas. Several industry sources have explained Dover’s electronics divesture as a corporate realignment to eliminate fluctuating ventures. The consensus reached was that electronics, by nature, fluctuate, and Dover decided to pursue more stable businesses. Vitronics released a letter to customers stating that the divesture follows changes in investment relationships, and is not financially motivated.

Acquisition notices for Universal’s electronics assembly equipment manufacturing and service businesses will be released by the company when agreements are finalized. The decision was made after extensive review and was not easy, said David Van Loan, president and CEO of Dover. Universal will release a corporate road-map by the end of 2006.

Developing Technology Integrates Package and Die

ORLANDO, FL - Freescale Semiconductor has developed technology to compete with ball grid arrays (BGAs) and flip chips for packaging suited to portable, compact end-products. The company states that redistributed chip packaging (RCP) technology delivers 30% smaller packages when compared to traditional BGAs. RCP integrates the package as a functional part of the die and system solution by using interconnect technology created by fab-like tools and processes, and requires no wire bonds, package substrates, mold tools, or flip chip bumps. Integration density and flexible capabilities were cited as progressive as well. “Redistributed packaging is a method of repackaging discretes device or devices and passives in a mold compound and routing out the signals, ground, and power from the die using fab interconnect technology,” said Beth Keser, RCP technology manager for Freescale.

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“For networking and computing devices, eliminating the bump will allow for compatibility with advanced wafer manufacturing processes that use ultra low-k interlayer dielectrics by lowering stress; for wireless devices, RCP will enable package shrink by eliminating wire bonds, using a fine line and space interconnect technology, and shrinking C5 ball pitch,” said Keser, adding that stress from protrusions common in current packaging technologies can cause delamination with fragile low-k materials. The company expects benefits in compatibility with lead-free technology. Blind vias and thinned die are not required to achieve thin profiles.

The technology coexists with system-in-package (SiP), package-on-package (PoP), and integrated cavity packages. “It allows for multi-die and passives in one package,” added Keser. This flexibility enabled the creation of a 25-mm2 radio-in-package, demonstrated by Freescale, that contains the electronics required to operate a 3G mobile phone. Using their RCP intellectual property (IP) and PoP technology, Freescale will begin integrating RCP into a range of consumer, industrial, transportation, and networking devices slated to roll out by 2008.

Upcoming medical electronics symposium

SAN JOSE, CA - The Microelectronics Packaging and Test Engineering Council (MEPTEC) will host a packaging symposium specific to the medical electronics industry. The September 21st industry event, titled “Medical Electronics- Integrating Technologies: Merging the Microelectronic, Bioscience, and Medical Industries,” will gather technical and business professionals who work in medical technology. Relevant packaging technologies include flip chip, wire bonding, die stacking, surface mount component attach, and various substrates. Advancements and integration developments in medical products will be highlighted. “We will be addressing the future of medical electronics, the expected convergence of microelectronics and biology,” said David Ruben, conference committee member.

MEPTEC considers the symposium important for the growing medical electronics industry. Divergent industries collaborate effectively to meet market demands and achieve technology integration through these focused meetings, they noted. Medical electronics manufacturers tend to use commercial technologies and only invent where necessary, said Ruben. Program segments include industry growth within enabling technologies (such as MEMS and optoelectrics) and opportunities in medical electronic products (such as hearing aids and X-rays). “RoHS has no direct effect on medical electronics; however, there are ripple effects through the supply chain,” added Ruben. Gianfranco Zaccai’s keynote address will focus on global ramifications and demands for pioneering integration.

Robin Johnson, Ph.D., Appointed as COO

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NEWPORT, Wales - Surface Technology Systems (STS) appointed Robin Johnson, Ph.D., interim COO. Johnson was president of a component manufacturing company until 2000, when he returned to the U.K. to oversee strategies for rapid technology deployment with STS, who manufactures specialized systems for advanced packaging, MEMS, and nanotechnology. Johnson received his Ph.D. in solid state physics from the University of East Anglia. He also holds an MBA, specialized in international business and management of innovation, from Kingston Business School.

Haraeus Executive Outlines Plans for Contact Materials Division

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HANAU, Germany - Under the leadership of Ferdinand Bartels, Ph.D., Heraeus’ re-organized Contact Materials Division plans to expand its surface mount, semiconductor, and package materials businesses. Formerly the Circuit Materials Division, Bartels explained that the changes were made because there is less distinction between SMT and the back-end.

Efforts will be focused on Asian markets as part of the business unit’s globalization strategy. Bartels said Heraeus is the largest producer of bonding wire in China, with 5 production sites out of 9 locations dedicated to the product. He added that they will be focusing on high-end applications.

Bartels also discussed plans for Haraeus’ lead-free products. Currently, 80% of their materials qualify as lead-free. The company plans to continue manufacturing both lead and lead-free materials. Specifically, the company has plans to produce a lead-free materials package for smart card systems. Bartels said they will produce both the substrate and adhesives. “Lead-free smart cards are going to dominate the market,” he said.

Bartels holds a Ph.D. in materials science. Prior to joining Hareaus, he was business unit leader at Umicore AG, a French automotive supplier.

Agere Chooses Board Member

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ALLENTOWN, PA - Agere Systems named Michael J. Mancuso, 63, to its board of directors. Mancuso served as chief financial officer for General Dynamics from 1994 until retiring. He held several senior financial management positions with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) prior to his work at General Dynamics and spent 21 years with General Electric. Noting Mancuso’s broad experience and talents, Richard Clemmer, president and CEO of Agere, explained his - and the board’s - role in a company turnaround plan.

Distribution Channel Opens in South Asia

LOS ALAMITOS, CA - Practical Components Inc., who supplies dummy components for test, opened a distribution channel in the southern Asian region. The company restructured product delivery and customer service models for the South Asia electronics market.

Markets in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines will rely on office and warehouse facilities in Singapore.

The company anticipates technology centers in the region driving a market rise. Range, in customers and products, is important in an emerging market such as the Asia Pacific, says David Koh, managing director for south Asia at Practical Components.AP

Order Index Looks Promising

ARLINGTON, VA - The order rate for electronic components lacked much variation in June, according to the index report issued by the Electronic Components, Assemblies, and Materials Association (ECA). A summer lull, global tensions, and a lack of consumer confidence created the languid figures, says Bob Willis, president of ECA.

Though hesitancy shows in the four to five week index, the 12-month average index maintains a steady climb over last year’s figures, indicating that the nondescript June numbers do not imply a stifled industry. The 12-month index is up 9 points over 2005, and has remained positive. Corporate spending will determine the index in the second half of 2006, according to the association.