Weiner’s World – March 2017


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New projects 

Just two years after its founding, Dr. Malcolm Thompson, executive director of NextFlex®, America's Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, announced the award of its largest set of contracts to date, 11 new projects totaling $21 million in value—to both corporations and academia to help transform FHE into a commercially viable industry. The project proposals were submitted in response to project calls issued by NextFlex, and address not only FHE product designs, but also a range of underlying technologies that will help build the sustainable supply chain, standards, and workforce essential to cost-effective, wide-scale manufacture of FHE-based products. 

The recipients will cost-share $13 million of the total $21 million value of the 11 projects chosen for this latest round of awards. The contracts were awarded to the following NextFlex members and projects:

  • Auburn University: "Mechanical Test Methods for FHE Materials and Devices”
  • The Boeing Company: 1) "Flexible Antenna Array Technology" and 2) "3D Patterning of Embedded FHE with High Fidelity" (#1, key partner: Georgia Tech; #2, key partner: nScrypt Inc.)
  • Lorain County Community College: "TRAIN Ohio for Micro-Electromechanical Systems"
  • Purdue University: "Ultra Flexible RFID/Sensor Systems for Inventory Monitoring" (key partner: Raytheon)
  • Sensor Films: "Implementing a FHE Prototype and Production Capability for NextFlex" (key partners: PARC, a Xerox Company, The Boeing Company, General Electric Company, Jabil Circuit, Universal Instruments, NovaCentrix, Binghamton University and the Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • Uniqarta, Inc.: "Enabling Ultra-Thin Die Assembly Prototyping at NextFlex Hub" (key partners: ON Semiconductor, Jabil Circuit, University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst and North Dakota State University)
  • United Technologies Research Center: "Manufacturing of Distributed, Flexible and Stretchable Asset Monitoring Sensor Networks" (key partners: Stanford University and Acellent Technologies, Inc.)
  • Universal Instruments Corporation: "Ultra-Thin Die Assembly for FHE Systems" (key partners: Binghamton University, General Electric Company, i3 Electronics and Lockheed Martin)
  • UC Berkeley: "Integration Processes for Flexible and Wearable Wound Monitoring and Therapeutic Bandage" (key partner: Jabil Circuit)
  • UMass Lowell: "Test Methods for Electrical and Mechanical Durability of Flexible/Rigid Interfaces in Multi-Axial Fatigue and Dynamic Loadings" (key partners: Raytheon, Jabil Circuit and DuPont)

Unimicron has decided to rebuild both innerlayer and outerlayer facilities of the former Ruwel in an industrial area in Geldern (Germany). Both plants are expected to become operational in 2018. 

Terry Gou, the founder of Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group[1], said he is “very serious” about bidding for Toshiba Corporation’s[2] memory chip business. Toshiba plans to sell some or all of the operation to shore up its balance sheet and is soliciting bids from financial and strategic investors. With Toshiba’s memory unit, Foxconn would be able to bring together display and memory technology, as well as assembly and supply, under one roof. 

From Taiwan 

PCB maker Chin-Poon Industrial saw its net profits increase 25.9% on year to a record high $81.63 million in 2016. PCB and FPCB supplier Zhen Ding Technology Holding has reported net profits of NT$3.456 billion (US$113.35 million) for 2016, decreasing 55% from a year earlier. Taiwan’s flexible PCB and handset component supplier Ichia Technologies reported revenues of $16.268 million for February, up 23% on month and 45% on year. (Source: Digitimes). 

From Japan 

Murata has commercialized the world first 0201M size ceramic chip capacitor with 100 pF for cellular phones and other mobile devices. Its size is 0.25 x 0.125 mm. RIKEN announced the development of a new deep UV light LED device with a high-power efficiency as an alternative light source of mercury lamps. 

Last month Princeton University announced that its researchers have drastically shrunk the equipment for producing terahertz—important electromagnetic pulses lasting one millionth of a millionth of a second—from a tabletop setup with lasers and mirrors to a pair of microchips small enough to fit on a fingertip. The simpler, cheaper generation of terahertz has potential for advances in medical imaging, communications and drug development. Last year we reported on a British terahertz inspection system for nondestructive inspecting of electronic packages. The UK’s TeraView has a non-destructive electro-optical terahertz inspection system which can detect minute shifts in impedance changes from weak or marginal interconnects after accelerated life tests or high temperature cycle tests. It can locate BGA faults within 5 μm. 

Copper foil is not the only raw material increase expected this year according to the foreign trade department manager of MeiZhou KeDing Industrial (PCB) Co., Ltd. He states that other laminate supplies will also increase. Glass cloth is likely to rise to 7 yuan/m2 ($0.094/ft2). Aluminum plates will go up as much as 20%. He expects shortages of CCLs to be the norm for the next two or three years. 

Reminder 

The 14th Electronic Circuits World Convention will be held next month in KINTEX, Goyang City, S. Korea (April 25 to April 27) along with KPCA show, hosted by the Korea Printed Circuits Association (KPCA) as well as World Electronic Circuits Council (WECC). 

Please send news and comments to: gene@weiner-intl.com

References:

  1. Bloomberg Markets: Foxconn Technology Group
  2. Bloomberg Markets: Toshiba Corporation

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