Why Designers Need to Be at the SMTA Additive Electronics Conference


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In a recent interview, Kelly Dack and Tara Dunn (Omni PCB president and conference co-chair) discussed why designers need to attend the SMTA Additive Electronics Conference. Tara will also be attending and moderating a panel discussion at the conference.

Kelly Dack: From a design standpoint, can we expect to get answers for the application of these circuits and what to watch out for? As a designer, I’m very familiar with the rolled annealed copper that’s commonly used in flexible circuits. But I have a feeling that additive copper is not going to end up as rolled annealed and instead will be a crystalline structure. Are there mechanical ramifications to this? Will the conductive paths be more brittle and delicate? 

Tara Dunn: The keynote presentation by Rich Brooks, senior engineering manager at Jabil Circuit Inc., will include some of the additive applications that they have been involved with over the recent years.

Dack: At first, additive processing was often perceived as something mainly for HDI and the super high-tech end. But it sounds like it’s being used for all sorts of applications—not just for the cutting edge.

Dunn: It definitely has a role with HDI technology. It can help solve a couple of things, such as working with a 12-layered design with three lamination cycles; that’s expensive because each of those lamination cycles comes with yield loss at extra costs. And it also hurts the lead time when you need to expedite product, so that’s a challenge and a constraint. Instead, if you can bring in this additive process, or a semi-additive process, and replace specific layers in a stackup, it doesn’t have to be the entire circuit done that way; you can have some layers be with the additive process, with some being etched when they have larger features, and then you can integrate those together.

In one customer application, we went from 12 layers to eight layers, which cut the lamination cycles from three to one; that’s a significant change in the way that we look at designs and how we can process things. Beyond HDI, I also see single-sided or double-sided circuit applications benefiting from these very fine feature sizes. If you think of something like a neuro-probe application or something that’s going to be bonded to the tip of a catheter, you’ll realize that additive has new applications on its own and independent of HDI.

To read the full interview, click here.

Don’t miss out; start your research. Attend the SMTA Additive Electronics Conference on October 24, 2019, to launch your expertise in additive electronics.

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