Since the first television and computer came onto the market, technological devices have become considerably smaller. New technology is requiring PCB manufacturers to miniaturize components to fit unique specifications, which means breaking the conventional rules day after day.
PCB manufacturers will need to stay ahead of the game by investing in new research based around component miniaturization in order to provide integral pieces for some of the smallest technologies mankind has ever seen.
Standard packaging technologies required
Wearable technology seems to be at the heart of miniaturization, though the video and memory quality required by onboard televisions, computers and mobile phones have also contributed to the need for smaller components. Engineering Exchange reported in a blog post there are a few different packaging technologies that will be key in creating these smaller shapes and sizes:
- Ball Grid Array (BGA): Commonly used in component miniaturization due to its pins allotting it central placement on the component, rather than peripheral. Also known as chip scales because of how compact they can become. EE reports these can be used as plastic-substrate based, or wafer scale, both of which help miniaturize down to 0.4 millimeters at its smallest.
- Leadless: By eliminating lead components, manufacturers can use technologies like quad flat no-lead (QFN) and small outline no-lead (SON) in order to boost electrical and thermal performance while staying between 0.65 and 0.4 mm, according to EE.
In utilizing these two technologies, along with lean manufacturing techniques, PCB assembly can navigate smaller products while still delivering low-cost packaging.
Millimeters will become a thing of the past as nanotechnology requires components the size of thimbles. PCB manufacturers that provide agile and flexible assembly methods will stand out in the industry, as a combination of speed and productivity will become key for large distributors looking to swiftly produce, package and export their technology.
Advanced Assembly reported that Intel's Haswell CPU family is a key indicator of just how quickly these changes can come. The latest components have transistors just 22 nanometers in size, while the batch shipped out before, Sandy Bridge, was pegged at 32 nm.
Perhaps one of the industries best primed to require lean manufacturing methods as it pertains to PCB assembly is the ever-evolving health care market. The fusion of telehealth and modern medicine are creating demands for tiny components to be placed in technologies like neurological sensors, which are getting smaller with every new batch, according to MDDI Online.
Component miniaturization will be a hot topic in the PCB field moving forward. Current technologies are available that allow manufacturers to downsize to microscopic proportions, and as Advanced Assembly reported, these are constantly changing. Assembly plants will need to incorporate lean manufacturing methods in order to stay ahead of the curve and distribute newly minted packaging technologies as they arrive.