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In preparation for this month’s magazine, we set up a conference call with the goal of uncovering the challenges and opportunities related to embedded technology. Invited were a handful of the industry’s heavy hitters in the embedded world: Retired technologist and I-Connect007 Contributing Editor Happy Holden, and Ohmega’s Technical Director Daniel Brandler and Design & Test Engineer Manuel Herrera. This informative, comprehensive discussion focuses on the state of embedded materials and components, today and into the future, as well as a variety of promising processes.
Patty Goldman: Gentlemen, thanks for joining us. Some of the things we want to learn are: What’s going on? What’s the latest? Additionally, what are some of the things that you think that your customers want to know? Dan, Ohmega Technology has been doing embedded components for over 30 years. Can you provide an overview of that work?
Dan Brandler: Ohmega Technology primarily makes materials used in embedding resistors, planar resistors, even surface resistors under the solder mask, but mostly it’s a multilayer structure. We electrically deposit a nickel-phosphorous alloy, which is the resistor material. It’s been around since World War II, so it’s a very well established material. We electrically deposit on standard ED copper foil of different levels of roughness, which will be discussed later in the conversation, and we supply that material to either laminators for PCB or microwave applications or to board shops who make their own laminate and PCBs with the embedded resistors.
In some cases, we subcontract laminates out to companies. But our primary business is just applying the resistive copper foil and we’ve been doing that for a long time. We’re not the only ones doing it; there are other alloys out there like Nichrome, but we’re the oldest. About 30−40% of our business is aerospace defense, things like power dividers, microwave applications for satellites, phased array antennas, and microwave absorbers. That didn’t used to be the case, but the majority now for commercial use is mainly for sensor technology, particularly in cell phones. I would guess almost all of you or at least certainly half of you I’m speaking to right now will probably have cellphones with you with our resistors in it. Our resistor material is in the largest American cellphone manufacturer’s products.
To read the full version of this interview which appeared in the June 2017 issue of The PCB Magazine, click here.