EIPC Summer Conference, Berlin: Day 1


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14DrOlafWittler.jpg‘Reliability and Environmental Aspects for Future PCB’ was the topic of Dr. Olaf Wittler, head of environmental and reliability engineering at Fraunhofer IZM. He made it clear that environmental concerns would continue to be important technology drivers in the electronics industry. In the recent past, regulations such as the RoHS and ELV directives had resulted in increased performance demands on PCBs, and certain RoHS exemptions, originally permitted because of a lack of appropriate substitute materials, were due to expire in the near future. New trends in use conditions, particularly in power and LED applications, continued to increase the temperature load on the PCB. Fraunhofer IZM had developed material characterisation techniques to determine copper properties and monitor dielectric degradation and were now able to measure yield stress of copper within via holes and non-destructively compare, test and qualify polymer dielectric materials for long term and high-temperature use. The reliability of solder joints at high temperatures was also an issue. New interconnect technologies were under development, capable of operating at high temperatures and showing higher reliability than standard interconnection methods. Environmental considerations such as the need to avoid climate change and save energy were driving the development of LED lighting and power electronics. There was a continuing trend towards improved resource efficiency and a consequent need for highly reliable electronics, and ongoing research at Fraunhofer IZM would determine how this trend would influence future electronics manufacturing.

15TheWalkToFraunhofer.jpgAt the conclusion of the technical session, delegates had the opportunity of a refreshing 2 km walk to Fraunhofer IZM (because the bus didn’t arrive!) and a privileged tour around the photonics laboratory, the power laboratory, and the former flip-chip line, now converted to an embedding line. And a long and interesting day concluded with a conference dinner in downtown Berlin.

I am grateful to Alun Morgan for allowing me to use his photographs.

Day 2 of the conference is covered here.

Based in the UK, Pete Starkey is technical editor for I-Connect007. He has more than 30 years experience in the PCB industry, with a background in process development, technical service and technical sales.

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