Flex Talk: Additive Electronics—PCB Scale to IC Scale


Reading time ( words)

SAP, mSAP, SLP—what kind of crazy acronyms have we adopted now, and how much do you really need to know? In terms of consumer electronics, there is a good chance that the smartphone attached to your hand at all times contains a PCB fabricated with this technology—or at the very least, the next-generation smartphone that you purchase will utilize mSAP technology. In terms of current-day PCB design and fabrication, that really depends on where you are now with technology. The standard subtractive-etch process serves the industry well. Developments in materials, chemistry and equipment enable the traditional PCB fabrication process to achieve feature sizes such as line and space down to 30 microns. Larger shops with more sophisticated capabilities are building this technology today. Mainstream PCB manufacturing is often limited to 50-75 microns (µm) line and space. But the electronics industry is evolving quickly. Propelled by the demand for more sophisticated electronics, the PCB design is being tasked with finer lines, thinner materials and smaller via sizes. A traditional progression is to first move to HDI technology with microvias and multiple lamination cycles for fabrication. Today’s mSAP and SAP technology offers an advanced approach, with line and space capabilities of less than 25 microns, to meet these exceedingly complex design requirements.

A Few Definitions

  • Subtractive etch process: commonly used to fabricate printed circuit boards. This process begins with copper-clad laminate, which is masked and etched (copper is subtracted) to form traces
  • Additive PCB fabrication: this process utilizes additive process steps, rather than subtractive process steps to form traces
  • SAP: semi-additive process, adopted from IC fabrication practices
  • mSAP: modified semi-additive process, adopted from IC fabrication practices
  • SLP: substrate-like PCB; a PCB using mSAP or SAP technology instead of subtractive etch technology

To read the full version of this article which originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.

Share

Print


Suggested Items

Catching Up With RBP Chemical and Schlötter

01/20/2022 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
It’s always great to see two very good companies form a mutually beneficial alliance. I was lucky enough to watch this particular strategic partnership come to fruition this year between RBP Chemical and Schlötter. I wanted to talk to both companies, so I sat down with Matthias Hampel, global executive representative-PCB and electronics at Schlötter, and Ernest Litynski, president of RBP Chemical Technology, to get the inside story.

Technology and Development Prospects for the European Marketplace

01/18/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Nolan Johnson speaks with Tarja Rapala-Virtanen technical director of the EIPC who breaks down the current state of the European market and which technologies and market segments are seeing growth.

A Tour of the New Isola Factory: Investing in North America

12/23/2021 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
Barry Matties recently toured Isola’s new 118,000-square-foot low-volume, high-mix manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. The facility’s construction began in 2020 and, like many building projects, was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Building a new factory during the pandemic was certainly a challenge but the team persevered and the new greenfield facility is now operating to meet the needs of the North American market. During the tour, Barry met with Travis Kelly, Ed Kelley, Sean Mirshafiei, Jenny Inocencio, and Walt Niziolek. They covered a range of topics, including lab operations, hiring, the supply chain, R&D, and the concept of the new facility. The factory was designed to extensively utilize automation to improve efficiencies and, as Travis Kelly stated, “to de-risk the labor shortage issue.”



Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.