Pete Starkey chats with Eduardo Benmayor about the products Aismalibar will be bringing to productronica 2021, and how the pandemic gave the company time to really work on internal processes.
Pete Starkey: Hello, this is Pete Starkey at I-Connect007 speaking with Eduardo Benmayor, who is general manager at Aismalibar, based in Barcelona, Spain, a long-established developer and manufacturer of specialist laminates for thermal management and heat dissipation. Eduardo, it's wonderful to have the opportunity to meet you again. I think it was productronica 2019 when we last met and discussed thermal management.
Benmayor: Yes, that's right.
Starkey: Eduardo, we have productronica approaching in a couple of weeks. I'm sure that you have been busy developing further products. What particular products do you anticipate launching at productronica 2021?
Benmayor: Okay. We have been, during this pandemic season, having a lot of time to make internal tests and internal, real and on-life testing with electronic devices. And we have put a lot of emphasis in how to mitigate the temperature on the boards without the need of changing the main design. When we go to visit some of our OEMs and we give new solutions, the idea of changing the design of the electronics, it's not easy for many of these OEMs. The main reason is because they have to restudy the complete electronic board, the housing, the product, etc. And this is normally a thing that they can study for new projects, but they will not rebuild again the same electronics for building the same device.
Starkey: I can completely understand that situation. How have you addressed that issue, Eduardo?
Benmayor: We started to develop a set of pre-pregs and cores, then we have denominated as FR-4 thermal. And these products are able to be used in the same electronic design or PCB design without the modification of the file that was used to do that ball. So as an example, if you were using a standard FR-4 with a Tg of 130, we can give the same solution for this multilayer board, four, six, eight layers, whatever was the design, and swap from the standard FR-4 to the thermal FR-4 produced by Aismalibar. The PCB maker is capable to build the same board exactly under the same terms and the same condition. By doing this, the end user of the electronic device is capable to make an apple to apple comparison. And he's able to test under the same conditions, the same boards with two different materials.
Starkey: I say it sounds to be such a logical development from your point of view and such an attractive development from the point of view of the OEM. So effectively you have produced an FR-4 material which in itself is thermally conductive.
Benmayor: That's right. So, we have made a lot of R&D development with our chemistry team in order to add special fillers and modify the resting accordingly in order to have a proper adhesion, a proper flow to fill up gaps, and line and spaces in the multilayer technique. And being able to provide similar range of performance of standard FR-4 but with thermal connectivity resting that will help the dissipation of the board, not only in zed, but also in x and y.
Starkey: Sure. Are you able to quote any comparative figures for thermal conductivity?
Benmayor: Yes. We made a very interesting test with one of the big OEM players in the graphic art industry, and they made one of their high-end graphic cards. Exactly the same with the same housing in between Aismalibar thermal FR-4 under standard hydrogen material. And they gave us a report back saying that the material that was designed with our material was operating 14 degrees lower in the joint point.
Starkey: Yeah, so significant. Yeah.
Benmayor: That was a lot because that board was operating in the range of 90 degrees. And with this thermal FR-4, the joint temperature dropped in between 14 to 15 degrees and the saving cost of the board, the device itself was not only because they were operating lowering temperature. It was mainly because when they were operating with standard FR-4, they had to use metallic boxing in order to dissipate the temperature. And when they were operating with our material, they were able to change the metallic boxing for plastic box. Okay. So the saving of the final product was very big. Yeah. Maybe the material cost was slightly higher because our FR-4 is slightly higher than standard FR-4 but the package for the OEM, the final producer was very big because they were capable to change from the metallic boxing to the plastic boxing.
Starkey: I understand that's, I say, a very significant improvement and it's a very attractive proposition, as you say, simply by making a change in the actual laminate material, to be able to produce that significant reduction in operating temperature and save costs in other directions so thank you very much for that. Eduardo, I understand you have some developments in thermal interface materials. Could you give us a brief update?
Benmayor: Yes. Also during this time we have been developing a range of thermal interface material in order to cover some areas, which we feel they are not properly solved in the industry, especially in the power electronics. Power electronics requires two very important aspects in reference to thermal interface material. And this is the lowest thermal resistance or impedance.
Benmayor: The power element, and the heat sink, and a very high dielectric strength. All the power electronics require high dielectric strength because they are normally operating at high voltage. And of the high voltage, plus the security, according to the isolation regulation, different in every country on every continent, will require fix amount of times the operating voltage of the device. Okay. So, that's a very important aspect for them, and this is not solved with the silicon parts.
So, we have developed a set of thermal interface materials which have different options in where we can offer different options inside the platform. So the interface is one thing, and then we can clad this interface with thermal adhesive or what we call a thermal gap filler, which is polymer that we used to fill up the air gaps in between the power element and the heat sink by making movement of this polymer when the device arrives to 30 or 40 degrees. So when the device arrives to this temperature, the polymer will move, will fill up the gaps, the air gaps in between the two devices and this will make excellent contact in between the power model and the heat sink.
Starkey: Yeah. Eduardo, this is another exciting development. And I say with a particular emphasis in the field of power electronics and high voltage electronics, thanks very much indeed, for this update. I really appreciate it. I wish you every success with these products in productronica, and hopefully look forward to meeting you there. If travel regulations permit.
Benmayor: I hope to see you. We are hoping that we are all willing to see our face once again. Because we have locked down for so long time. And I think that we need to have a face to face communication with our colleagues and our friends in the industry.
Starkey: Very much. Look forward to it. Eduardo, thank you again for joining us.