03015 as a key concept in the electronics industry
Hardly visible to the naked eye, bearing names like 03015 or 01005, but the key actors behind unique innovations in the electronics world. Whether a smartphone, tablet or LED lighting, when it comes to manufacturing electronic products all eyes are now on the tiniest SMT components like microchips, capacitors or resistors. They offer new technological solutions and challenge industry to compromise and do what it takes to keep pace with the shift toward miniaturisation.
The electronics industry is pursuing a clear trend here.
Although components are getting ever-smaller, reliability in manufacturing and functional terms must remain flawless. 03015 components are currently the smallest on the market, with an edge length of just 0,3 x 0,15 mm. „Accurate processing remains a challenge when manufacturing modern electronics – one which can only be met when customers and suppliers collaborate throughout the entire process chain as well as making innovative developments”, explained Dr. Hans Bell, Head of Development at Rehm.
Challenges for the PCB
Selecting the right material and production process can impact decisively on the PCB properties. In addition, designing also involves focusing on the intervals at which we place the smallest components on the PCB, to avoid it becoming too densely packed overall.
Stencil design for complex boards
During the assembly production, the printing process is where up to 65 % of errors occur and laying out stencils precisely while ensuring optimal tripping behaviour are crucial for quality. To ensure solder paste is printed smoothly onto the board, however large or small the amount, it is necessary to create a stepped stencil based on the varying paste requirement with optimal opening layouts.
Constraints for the printing process
A particularly fine-grained type 5 solder paste is needed to print 03015 components. Regulating compressive force via a closed-loop system ensures an optimal volume each time, whatever the quantity deposited.
Placement strategies for 03015 components on the PCB
Regardless of whether the components are large, like BGAs and SMD transformers or tiny, like resistors or capacitors – the placement system ultimately has to be flexible enough to ensure all types of components can be reliably placed in precisely the right position on the PCB. With a specially developed placement head and special pipettes, which follow specific geometries, is an accurate placement of miniature components possible.
Soldering complex boards
Component size plays a subordinate role when it comes to the solderability. The challenge for us is minimising the differences in temperature between the smallest and largest thermal masses on the board, to enhance the process capability. This is made possible via uniform heat distribution within convection soldering machines, which can be optimally configured for the process using separately controllable process areas and flexible fan frequencies.
“Complex Boards” cooperation project
Common, innovative ideas are the key to meeting the requirements of very small components in the future. The result is ultimately what counts – and that is a perfectly functioning product. When it comes to miniaturisation, we can only achieve our goal by sharing our ideas and experiences.
As part of a cooperation project, the companies ASM, ASYS, Fraunhofer IZM, Christian Koenen, Heraeus, Rehm and TDK Europe explored the limits of what is feasible on the complex SIPLACE Demo Board. The reflow soldering testing focused, in particular, on the parallel processing of thermally demanding components such as transformers and through-hole connectors, in addition to the smallest SMD components like the 03015. The results of the cooperation project are explained in more detail in the brochure “Complex Boards – a Challenge for SMT”, which can be obtained from the companies involved. We look forward to implementing further projects together with our partners.