Catching up with LiloTree’s Dr. Kunal Shah

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Beaulieu: How would you say that LiloTree stands out among other companies?

Shah: We continuously innovate. One of the latest developments includes a Pd-based catalyst chemistry for activation of copper substrates (PCBs or semiconductor components) to alleviate the issue of skip plating or over-plating. It is optimally aggressive to eliminate skip plating and has selective effectiveness (activates only the copper surface and repels the PCB material) to get rid of residual Pd ions and eliminate over plating. Also, we have a few products in the pipeline. Those include Immersion Sn-Premium, Immersion Ag-Premium, OSP-Premium, HASL-Premium.

Beaulieu: Where do you want to be in five years?

Shah: LiloTree’s vision is to offer major surface finishes to PCB and semiconductor manufacturers for better reliability of electronic assemblies. Our goal is to keep increasing our market share in the industry while providing exceptional customer/technical support to our customers. In five years, we would like to see LiloTree one of the major surface finish manufacturers and distributors in the world, supporting several electronics industries internationally.

Beaulieu: What are some of your current market challenges?

Shah: We are in the market of selling ENIG or ENIG equivalent (ENIG-Premium) to PCB manufacturers and semiconductor manufacturers. Being the new entrant in the marketplace, we face challenges in terms of the lack of credibility as a reliable chemical supplier, and we face supply chain concerns, especially in dealing with large companies. We are in the process of partnering with large distributors to alleviate some of these concerns.

PCB designs are moving towards HDI where nickel (ENIG) creates electromagnetic interference and can compromise performance. Also, in the application of high-frequency, RF, aerospace applications, Ni-based layer is not appreciated. We have designed a solution that we call Ni-less ENIG-Premium which is also eco-friendly and cost effective. This latest new entry in the market has received great response by several OEMs in terms of better reliability and resolves electromagnetic interference posed by nickel-based layer.

Beaulieu: How do you service your customers?

Shah: We have a comprehensive scientific lab with all the necessary scientific instruments for analysis. We also have a team of experienced scientists who provide ongoing technical support to the customers. Also, our experience in product improvement solutions puts us in an advantageous position for exceptional customer service.

Beaulieu: How are people finding out about your product?          

Shah: We have presented technical talks at conferences (IPC APEX EXPO, SMTA International, SMTA local chapter meetings, etc., and we have booths at various expositions. We meet with OEMs and get the word out on better reliability of electronic assemblies and encourage OEMs to influence the PCB manufacturers to adopt ENIG-Premium. We also publish white papers and use various other platforms for their publications.

Beaulieu: Are there companies using your products now?

Shah: Yes, there are a few OEMs and PCB manufacturers and plating services using ENIG-Premium. The responses have been very positive. I’m sure they would be willing to recommend the product to other potential users.

Beaulieu: Dr. Shah, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. I appreciate it.

Shah: Thank you, Dan.



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