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Prospects for PCB technology

The future of PCB is inseparable from innovation, so the fourth phase of the future of PCB is called the innovation period (ie, the later stage of PCB industrialization). To look ahead and predict the future of PCB technology, we will first examine some of the major changes in electronics products related to the PCB industry in recent years.


(1) SiP and SLP

In September 2014, Apple released Watch S1. The motherboard uses SiP (unconventional Any Layer or high-order HDI, the corresponding rear section uses SiP package instead of the original HDI assembly, and Watch S2 and S3 also use similar SiP packages). See Figure 40. The specific PCB design is 8 layers, the plate thickness is 0.35mm, the full stack structure, the minimum line width/space is 0.02/0.02mm, and the minimum Pad is 0.1mm.

In September 2017, Apple released the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus and iPhone X. The main processor A11 uses TSMC's 10nm FOWLP process (see explanation below). The motherboard PCB uses SLP (class-based board, Substrate Like PCB, which is actually MSAP). Any Layer technology), the first time the line uses the MSAP process (0.025/0.025-0.03/0.03mm)

Therefore, from the PCB design of Apple S1, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus and iPhone X, it can be seen that high-end HDI has a tendency to be plated. The use of Samsung Motor to introduce its future HDI ultra-fine line technology capabilities can also illustrate the trend of HDI carrier board

(2) FOWLP and FOPLP

In September 2016, Apple released the iPhone 7, the main processor A10 uses TSMC's 16nm FOWLP technology (fan-out wafer level package, also known as InFOWLP, Integrated Fan-outWafer Level Packaging, integrated fan-out wafer level package) Use FOWLP instead of the PoP package that was used all the time, that is, no longer use Substrate and package

FOPLP (Fan-out Panel Level Packaging), which places the chip on the Substrate board for RDL direct packaging (RDL: Rewiring Layer, Traditionally in strips) Strip base) Substrate through Bump and chip package, see the Strip in Figure 4 above; generally a Panel consists of 8-10 Strips), which is actually the embedded component technology mentioned above, but only buried here. Set the active components.

FOPLP and FOWLP are actually two different new directions for how active components are packaged (FOPLP: board-level chip package, packaged on the entire carrier board; FOWLP: wafer level package, packaged on the wafer), This is also a challenge to traditional packaging methods. A comparison of FOPLP and FOWLP is shown in Figures 46 and 47. At present, companies such as Amkor, ASE, SPIL, Frauhhofer IZM, and Samsung Electric are developing FOPLP technology. It can be called FOPLP for the encapsulation of Substrate.

Combining (1) SiP with SLP and (2) FOWLP and FOPLP can be seen: these new requirements or technologies are challenges and opportunities for HDI; Substrate is more of a challenge.


(3) Printed electronics

Printed Electronics (also translated as printed electronics) refers to electronic circuits that combine electronic components and circuits using various printing techniques. Because printed electronics has the advantages of low cost, flexible shape, easy production, easy integration, and environmental protection, it has been receiving much attention, but it is limited by technical problems and is extremely small.

The processes for making printed electronics include: screen printing, flexographic printing, lithography, gravure printing, inkjet printing, stencil imprinting, photoimaging, laser imaging, etc.; materials are: substrate (mostly organic film), Functional materials (ie, inks, including: conductive materials (conductive inks), semiconductor materials (organic semiconductor materials or composite materials), insulating dielectric materials).

This process is mainly introduced due to the development of inkjet printing processes for the production of printed electronics. Take the example of Israel's Nano Dimension Technology. In 2016, the company developed a 3D inkjet deposition printing device called Dragonfly 2020 (see Figure 48), which uses conductive inks (AgCiteTM series nanoscale silver grain conductive inks, see Figure 49) and insulating media inks (one component). Insulation dielectric material for rigid and flexible boards) Printed PCB; it can also print PCBs with embedded components (see Figure 50). Jabil is its first commercial customer (September 2017).

Due to the advantages of printed electronics, it is inevitable that the future will become a challenge to the traditional PCB industry with the maturity of printed electronics.


In summary, the possible technical trends for PCBs in the future are:

(1) HDI carrier (or SiP)

(2) Substrate encapsulation (or modular)

(3) Printed electronics is gradually emerging (low-end, sample, small batch)



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