2019 Summer Conference

Review Summer Conference 2019 – 13th & 14th June 2019

Day 1

The beautiful city of Leoben in central Austria provided the setting for the EIPC 2019 Summer Conference – and what a summer, the mercury hit the mid-thirties!
It was no coincidence that we found ourselves in Leoben: everyone knows this is the location of one of the world’s leading PCB technology companies AT&S and we were proud to have them as a sponsor and to have the opportunity to visit their world class manufacturing plant nearby.

I was privileged to make the welcome address and chose Artificial Intelligence (AI) as my theme. After welcoming the delegates and thanking those who had kindly sponsored the event I demonstrated how the power and availability of GPUs (graphics processing units) had transformed image processing with a live example of facial recognition software and how realistic “deep fake” videos can be produced from only a few frames of a real subject. I took the bold move to demonstrate some AI features of my DJI Mavic Air Drone by controlling it solely with hand gestures.

Luckily no delegates were harmed in the demonstration! I concluded with drone footage of the demise of my first drone being caused by me crashing into a tree after the system foolishly handed control back to me during a “return to home” AI function. I was reminded of the fact that in over 30 years of operation there have only been two crashes recorded on the automated London Docklands Light Railway and that both of those crashes occurred when the system was operating under human control!

We were honoured by the presence of Daniel Geiger, the Vice Mayor of Leoben who extended a very warm welcome to the packed conference room.
He emphasised the importance of advanced manufacturing technology in Europe, a point that resonated well with the audience.

We then moved on to the first keynote presentation prepared by Walt Custer. Walt is still experiencing mobility issues and was therefore unable to attend in person; it was thus my pleasure to make the presentation on Walt’s behalf.

The format of Walt’s business outlook presentation is well known and appreciated by regular EIPC conference attendees. This time the outlook was not particularly rosy with global manufacturing growth slowing based on PMI (purchasing managers index) data showing that most sectors of the world electronic supply chain are now expanding slower or contracting. Tariffs, trade disputes and Brexit/EU were identified as key issues with geopolitical concerns remaining very significant. Military spending, perhaps not unexpectedly, showed a worldwide increase 1Q’19 vs. 1Q’18 and in Europe there were increases for aerospace along with electronic components and loaded boards, perhaps indicative of some stock building in mitigation of the effects of trade disputes and impending Brexit. The charts showed double digit percentage reductions in both semiconductor production and semiconductor capital equipment investment which mean we can expect further contraction for some time down the supply chain. The prognosis for 2019 vs. 2018 PCB worldwide production showed a contraction of 0.9% but with some large regional differences, Germany showing the highest contraction of 5.5% after recording growth of 3.5% 2018 vs. 2017.

The next keynote was delivered by Gerald Weis, from the Advanced Packaging department at AT&S.

Gerald chose Design for Excellence related to embedded components as his topic and delivered an informative presentation which described a design based approach for printed circuit boards that entailed a wide range of defined rules, processes and standards focused on optimizing the product realization life cycle. Weis took the delegates through the entire process, starting with defining what is meant by embedding before describing the various issues that might arise. Weis ended his presentation concluding that design for excellence is a complex topic requiring the use of intelligent interchange formats during the development process and that interfaces between design, simulation and development are essential to achieve the benefits of increased volume utilization and lowered parasitic impedances achievable by embedding.

The next session covering supply chain and reliability was moderated by EIPC Technical Director Tarja Rapala. Tarja welcomed Gardien Group’s Roland Valentini to take the podium.

Valentini explained that the goal of his presentation was to help delegates get a better understanding about how their supply chain could be improved to optimise delivery time, reduce communication issues, receive only pretested PCBs and all at lowest possible cost. The presentation highlighted that whilst US$ 5.9B of PCB are needed in Europe, only about US$ 2.0B are produced. He argued that to support this approx. US$ 4B supply chain gap and the two thirds of required imported populated PCBs, new advanced supply chain of tools and control functions are needed. The presentation went on to describe the details of a framework for advanced supply chain management meeting and exceeding the customers performance requirements whilst increasing PCBA production yields by reducing defect rates, minimising risks and reducing costs. A key feature of Gardien’s solution was described as an independent but integrated on-site test & inspection function participating in continuous improvement activities, focused quality control reduces rework and enabling full transparency of actual fabrication yields.

Next the conference heard from Paul Carre of Polar Instruments who addressed the issue of maximising repeatability of impedance measurement.

 Paul Carre began with a resumé of his career at Polar Instruments and some fascinating information on his interest in  sharks – yes, sharks! The presentation developed to explain that USB4 which allows for a maximum data rate of 40Gbps and is expected to rollout during 2021 was driving the need for maximising repeatability.  Paul described the test setup as having two TDR based test systems, the first a 35pS Tektronix DSA8300 and the second an ~250pS Polar CITS (Controlled Impedance Test System). TDR traces for a 75 ohm test vehicle over 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1 inch were then shown and the difficulty of stable measurement on the short trace lengths was clearly demonstrated. Paul summed up by concluding that entry quality & perturbations are key and that faster rise time is no guarantee of short trace measurement capability.

The first part of the session concluded with a paper prepared by Frank van den Bosch of Ucamco which was presented by André Bodegom of Adeon Technologies B.V.

 The presentation covered direct imaging (DI) applications and began with a look at the development of DI technology from 2005 to the present day. Bodegom moved on to describe the features of the Ledia 6 system which utilises a broad multi-wavelength optical system ranging from 350nm to 440nm to diffuse the energy optimally throughout the resist or solder mask. The system allows the user to fine-tune each wavelength’s power individually for optimal results on or each material. Examples of the results were shown with 50µm solder mask dams without undercut. Further details of the autofocus, image head calibration and alignment system for registration accuracy were described in detail. Ledia’s DISI (DPF Interface for Serialization and Image stamping) system for generating on-the-fly board serialization and variable image stamps at the time of exposure was explained to as a method to ensure unique PCB identification and traceability. The presentation closed with an overview of automation options for inner & outer layers and solder mask.

After the coffee break the session continued with Jan Pederson of Elmatica

presenting on how a brokers communication can solve technical issues. The presentation started with an overview of Elmatica from its founding in 1971 to its position today as a digital supply chain partner. Pederson displayed a chart mapping required knowledge of process and technology showing the positioning of the customer and two example PCB factories where the broker was able to bridge the technology knowledge of the PCB factories whilst exceeding the process knowledge of the customer. The presentation then demonstrated through three case studies how communication and process knowledge were able to solve the issues of via opens, bow & twist and a depth milled semi-flex solution. I was delighted and proud to have been named as the person who suggested the depth milling solution to Elmatica! Pederson closed the presentation with the words of one customer “with your involvement we always find a solution and end up with delivery”.

Next we heard from EIPC Vice President Emma Hudson of Gen3 systems

 who delivered her paper entitled “Ionic Contamination: So What Has Changed?” The presentation began with an explanation of why we should care about ionic contamination and proceeded to describe the pros and cons of common ionic contamination test methods.  The paper then moved on to explain that the introduction of IPC J-STD-001G Amendment 1 had replaced the 1.56μg/cm2 of NaCl equivalence requirement, which was established in the 1970s, with an objective evidence requirement to qualify that the contamination left on the PCBA is acceptable and to monitor that qualified contamination levels are not exceeded during production. So far so good, however Hudson then pointed out that other IPC requirements, such as IPC 6012 Automotive Addendum still includes a 1.56μg/cm2 of NaCl equivalence prior to solder mask application and IPC IPC 6012DA-WAM1 Automotive Applications Addendum to IPC-6012D has a 0.75μg/cm2 of NaCl equivalence prior to solder mask application with no scientific justification for the number selected, just that it’s “better” than 1.56μg/cm2. Despite the inconsistencies arising, Hudson argued the merits of the new approach and described the process by which objective evidence is obtained before concluding that PCB manufacturers should expect to start hearing more about this from their customers as the changes come down the supply chain.

The last paper of the session entitled “From PCB to Assembly – Performance of New Coatings Applied Along the Production Chain” was delivered by Sven Kramer of Lackwerke Peters.

Following an introduction to the Peters Group the presentation focussed on liquid photo-imageable solder mask (LPISM), coatings supporting effective thermal management and protective/conformal coatings for enhancing reliability and lifespan. The application methods of LPISM were shown to have regional differences leading to challenges in compliance with specified maximum thickness on the top of tracks and specified minimum thickness at the track corners. Kramer moved on to show a combination of printed heatsink and printed thermal interface paste were used to level surface roughness, displace air and thereby create an optimum connection to the cooling element to support heat transfer and heat dissipation from the assembly side to the cooling side. The final part of the presentation covered conformal coatings which are used to enhance reliability and lifespan. The differences between micro-encapsulation and conformal-film/coat were shown along with the various stress factors affecting electronic assemblies. The presentation ended with the message that successfully working in the field of high-end coatings for electronics requires considerably more effort and investment in technology than ever before.

After lunch EIPC Board Michele Stampanoni of Cicor Group

introduced the next session “New technologies-Material technology-Coating technology”. The first paper of the session was presented by Steve Woods

of Sun Chemical and covered developments in advanced LPISM for high temperature and direct image (DI) applications. The presentation described the development of a soldermask designed to meet the higher temperature thermal cycling tests for the automotive industry. The development process utilised variants of existing resin technology whilst maintaining pigment levels/colour density of standard soldermask in producing a product that could be applied by screen print, curtain coat and spray methods and that was suitable for exposure on DI and conventional exposure light sources. The thermal cycling requirements of two automotive tier one suppliers were described and the test results of the most stringent of these being 2,000 cycles of 15 minute dwell -40⁰C to +170⁰C were shown demonstrating that the product developed was able to meet the requirement without failures. Woods continued by showing positive test results also for moisture & insulation resistance and electrochemical corrosion. The concluding remarks emphasised that laminate selection and ink film thickness control were also critical for success.

Frank Louwet of Agfa-Gevaert

was next to take the podium to present his paper “Be Flexible. Go Digital. Deeper insights in the benefits of inkjet soldermask for PCB production”. After an introduction to Agfa-Gevaert the development of ink application technologies from screen printing through laser direct imaging to additive inkjet printing were charted. The importance of 100% additive and digital technologies was emphasised with the key benefits of printing solder mask only where necessary leading to cost efficient solder mask deposition, no solder mask in vias, the prevention of solder bridges between closely spaced solder pads (dam printing), resistance against electrical breakdown and soldermask thickness. Louwet was also able to demonstrate the reduction in process steps by using inkjet for soldermask application and the significant reduction in the process ecological footprint compared to conventional technologies. The presentation continued with a description of how variable thickness & and coverage and jetting performances & surface quality are achieved before detailing the physical and electrical requirements. The presentation concluded with a summary of inkjet benefits including solder mask being applied in the amount needed only on the desired areas and the high reliability and excellent jetting performance, whilst meeting today’s demanding PCB requirements.

Staying with the inkjet printing theme, but this time from the equipment side, the next speaker was Joost Valeton of Meyer Burger NV.

The presentation firstly introduced Meyer Burger as a leading global technology company specialising in innovative systems and processes. The various industries were inkjet systems were shown before focusing on PCB technologies where the benefits of being environmentally friendly by reducing process steps along with waste and material usage were stated. Valeton went on to describe the equipment solution offered by Meyer Burger and explained that the key features of software integration and small drop size from the print heads (2.5pL) plus drop flow-out compensation and advanced resolution control for accurate feature size produced the highest quality solder mask printing. Visual examples were shown contrasting performance with other systems. The presentation concluded with the technical details that 50 μm line/space features are achievable and that experience shows a > 96% availability and printing of up to 60 sides/hour.

Continuing with inkjet, the conference wouldn’t be complete without hearing from Don Monn of Taiyo

who didn’t disappoint with his presentation on white solder mask for automotive applications. The presentation launched with an estimate of the automotive lighting market value which was stated as US$ 25.7B in 2016 rising to US$ 35.9B by 2022. The requirement for white solder mask in automotive lighting was explained with details of the stringent specifications for gloss and reflectance and colour stability after thermal ageing and the challenges of producing a highly opaque material that had a high enough photosensitivity to offer a wide process window. Monn went on to explain that cracking is more prevalent in white solder mask than standard green solder mask during assembly and the reasons behind this before introducing Taiyo’s new white solder mask which was specifically designed to reduce the challenges of cracking and photosensitivity without compromising other essential properties. In addition to the general requirements already shown additional specifications for ionic contamination, hot storage and solvent resistance were detailed along with the test results for the Taiyo product showing, in conclusion, that all requirements were fully achieved.

Closing the session and the first day of the conference was David Bernard of David Bernard Consultancy

whose presentation was entitled “Bare Board Inspection – Ensuring a Sound Foundation for Assembly”. The presentation began by explaining PCB assemblers had long used x-ray inspection techniques driven by the need to inspect optically hidden joints and had x-ray systems offering high magnification, high resolution imaging providing top-down and oblique angle views. Considering the difficulties faced in checking bare boards prior to assembly Bernard introduced the concept of using the PCB assemblers existing x-ray equipment to provide quick, non-destructive tests on representative samples of bare boards. Demonstrating this concept the presentation developed to show oblique x-ray images with impressive examples of poor drilling quality, layer misalignment, plating failure and cracks. Moving on from the 2D examples PCT (partial computed tomography) images were shown where the benefits of reconstructed 2D x-ray slices at different levels in the z direction with a decluttered image allowing individual layers to be analysed were readily apparent. The PCT technique was described as being able to be undertaken anywhere on the board non-destructively, whilst full CT which is destructive requires a small volume (like that used for micro-section) to enable high magnification/resolution 3D models. Bernard concluded by stating there is a place for all the techniques described and suggested that they be used in the order of 2D views then PCT then full CT and finally micro-section.

Prior to departure for the bonus programme visit to AT&S the delegates were addressed by Jürgen Deutschmann who gave an informative presentation explaining that AT&S although headquartered in Austria operates six manufacturing plants in Europe and Asia with 10,000 employees and in addition to being among top 10 PCB producers worldwide holds the number three position globally in high-end technology. R&D was identified as the key for technological leadership and we were informed that over 40% of revenue is generated with products with new and innovative technologies introduced to the market within the last three years. The technical capabilities of the Leoben plant were listed as; Multilayer from 4 – 24 layer, High End HDI products (6n6, 12 any layer, Substrates, Subtractive and Semi Additive Plating Processes, 2,5 D® Technology (for cavity application), ECP® Boards and Modules with a lot size from 0,5m² to Mass Production with a high material variety including FR4, High-TG, Halogen free, High Frequency, Teflon, Polyimid with different surface finishes, Hard-Gold, Tin, ENIG, OSP, HASL, ENIPIG and Silver.

After a safety briefing the delegates were hosted on the tour of the AT&S Leoben facility where an impeccably clean, well-organised and highly automated facility was to be found. Delegates were highly impressed at the level of technology in the plant and professionalism that was shown by the AT&S guides and were very grateful for their kind hospitality.

Following the very informative tour of AT&S the delegates were invited for dinner at Gösser Bräu in Leoben where the EIPC staff were once again surprised to find a brewery making an excellent venue for networking. The beer and food were excellent, but most highly appreciated was the quality of the company. Daniel Geiger, the Vice-Mayor graciously joined us for dinner and very kindly requisitioned some local buses to take us back to the hotel!

Review EIPC Summer Conference Leoben, June 2019
Day 2

EIPC Board Member Christian Behrendt of Ilfa opened the second day as moderator of the session covering Design-Process reliability. Christian was kind enough to thank the EIPC Staff Kirsten Smit-Westenberg and Carol Pelzers for their excellent organisation of the conference.

The first paper of the session was presented by Lars Böttcher of Fraunhofer IZM
and was entitled “High Density RDL Technologies for Fan-Out Panel Level Packaging”. The paper began with a description of current practice of embedded packaging technologies with connections fanned out of the IC surface and compared the techniques of embedding in organic laminate and embedding in epoxy mold compound. The new concept of PLP (panel level package) embedding was then introduced which uses a laminate (PCB) core for embedding of the dies in order to provide a high handling stability and limitation of die shift. Böttcher developed the concept with considerations of PCB core selection, dielectric films suitable for ultra-fine line RDL (redistribution layer) structures and direct imaging developments from the current 4μm capability towards 2μm Lines and spaces with adaptive alignment. The current status of PLP embedding was shown with a detailed description of the required process steps and examples up to a 510 x 515 mm panel containing 660 modules per panel (1320 chips). The presentation concluded by confirming the feasibility of the presented process with future work planned for process cost reduction and scaling to larger panel formats.

The next speaker was Martin Cotton

of the High Density Packaging User Group (HDPUG) who spoke on the subject of PCB Trace Geometry and Effects. The presentation began with an appraisal of the PCB as a mechanical structure to support “wires” that connect electronic devices. The positioning of these “wires” that we now call traces was described as having causes and effects related to their width, thickness, surfaces, edges, corners, adherence and geometric variance. It was argued that design & manufacturing have a huge impact on the success of creating the ideal placement and positioning of the traces relative to each other and how they are connected and that in modern electronic circuits the core part of the design is the differential pair. Cotton further explained the design of differential pairs using simulation data and stack-up modelling and went on to show “the impedance triangle” graphic which demonstrated the relatively greater importance of dielectric constant over dissipation factor of substrates in the design process. Cotton concluded with an interesting analysis where he postulated that increasing layer density through the use of ultra-low dielectric constant materials could result in reducing office rental and usage costs by as much as 15%, although he did end with the words “for this presentation I have taken liberties”!

The next presentation provided a fresh approach to an old problem and was presented by Marko Pudas of Picosun OY.
 The paper was entitled “Mitigation of Tin Whiskers with ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) and new solution for PCB processes” and began with an introduction to Picosun and the process of ALD which was described as a batch coating process able to coat a range of materials from typically 100 nm up to ~0,5 µm. The particular issue addressed by Picosun was explained as a space application partnered with ESA (The European Space Agency) and was developed to provide a conformal coating with a number of advantages over traditional solutions, these were identified as blocking of tin whiskers, a moisture & gas barrier, ability to be reworked, the ability to be combined with other coating methods and the ~0 increase in weight. Pudas showed the test board configuration and explained that stage 1 validation of the process had completed with the demonstration of tin whisker mitigation and >80 V breakthrough voltage with stage 2 covering verification of 1st stage experiment & route planning to establish validation of ALD coating for suppliers, testing of ALD-encapsulation of plastic packages for space use and increased lifetime in ambient and test boards with relevant space grade AND COTS (polymer packages) now in the reporting phase. The presentation concluded with a request to delegates to identify their critical components to be validated with the ALD process in other industries, automotive, medical etc.

The conference next heard from Stig Källman of Ericsson
in his presentation entitled “Be prepared for higher data rates in mobile systems”. The talk was of course about 5G developments and the delegates were interested to learn that Ericsson had already shipped over 3 million 5G ready radios. The technical aspect of signal loss factors was explained showing that design and dielectric constant and dissipation factor accounted together for 65% of signal loss. Källman went on to explain the importance in process variability reduction and showed that the key production parameters of tolerances for line width, substrate thickness, layer to layer registration and impedance will have to be reduced by 50% by 2023 in order to meet the new requirements. The importance of substrate selection, foil type, oxide treatment and solder mask electrical properties were all explained with Källman joking that everyone needed a “secret decoder ring” in order to make sense of the plethora of acronyms associated with copper foil profiles! The presentation proceeded with a video demonstration of the difference between the 20 ms latency of 4G systems with the 1 ms promised by 5G. The demonstration took the form of footballers taking penalties with the goalkeeper using a virtual reality headset relaying video from the field of play. At 4G latency the goalkeepers were ineffective, whereas with the 5G signal they saved the penalties with ease – what a difference 19 ms makes! The presentation closed with the remark “Political world remains in turmoil, technology will not slow down…whoever masters 5G-IoT will lead the world.”

Next up was Stefano Dada of Rogers Corporation
whose presentation concerned critical material properties for millimetre-wave and high speed digital applications. The presentation started with an overview of high frequency circuit material properties and contrasted PTFE based and hydrocarbon based materials with both woven and non-woven-glass and with ceramic fillers. Dada’ then expanded on the critical material properties for common mm-wave applications identifying copper surface roughness & Surface Finish, final plated finishes, dissipation Factor (Df), dielectric constant (Dk), woven-glass reinforcement, thermal Coefficient of Dk (TCDk) and TCDf and moisture absorption. Charts were then shown of insertion loss vs. substrate thickness where it was demonstrated that thinner circuits are dominated by conductor loss whilst thick circuits are dominated by dielectric loss. Copper foil production techniques were then explored identifying rolled copper as having historically the lowest profile and lowest loss foil for PCB laminates and having been used in RF laminates for 50+ years for premium performance, albeit at a premium cost compared to standard electrodeposited copper foil. Rogers’ proprietary copper foil treatment was then introduced alongside data showing its insertion loss improvement over materials using standard foils. Dada’ further expanded on the impact of final plated finish, Dk tolerance, and glass weave effect before concluding that the emerging 5G millimetre wave designs require materials with a variety of thin thickness options and a glass style ideal for high speed signal transmission that minimizes signal skew.

Staying with the materials theme and closing the session was Shannon Juan of Elite Material
whose paper was entitled “Copper Treatment Investigation on High Frequency PCB Insertion Loss”. Juan opened with an overview of Elite Material’s positioning in the global laminate market and their manufacturing footprint before moving on to show a chart mapping data rates against time with a future requirement of 112 Gbps necessitating ultra-low loss materials. Juan explained that insertion loss was a key factor and showed that dielectric loss and conductor loss both contributed to the insertion loss. The presentation then went into further detail of copper foil roughness demonstrating that lower copper foil roughness improves signal integrity performance. The study undertaken was then described as having the objective of finding out the attribution of different copper foil types and surface treatment on insertion loss by using two copper foil treatments and three alternative oxide treatments. The test setup was detailed as using a VNA (vector network analyser) for loss measurements up to 40GHz and the optical surface profiling technique was described. The results of the study showed a small (2%) improvement by using the lower profile foil, but that the largest effect was seen from the surface treatment, the best of which coupled with the lowest profile foil showed a 13% improvement from the baseline. Juan concluded that roughness of copper foil and surface treatment play important roles in the high-speed future applications and that surface treatment is critical to the electrical performance even when using smoother copper foil in ultra-low-loss PCB design.

After a networking break EIPC board member Hubert Zimmermann
of Dyconex introduced the last session “Automation of Fabrication Technology”. The first presenter was Peter Walsh of Notion Systems
who returned to the theme of inkjet in his presentation on solder resist printing. The presentation started by showing that five process steps could be eliminated by using inkjet over conventional technology and claimed that a typical inkjet system could save over 124.000€/ year over a conventional solder resist line. Walsh went on to compare inkjet with LDI (laser direct imaging), curtain coating/spray coating and screen printing, highlighting the advantages of inkjet. Additional advantages of inkjet were extolled, including locally adaptable height which could be used for the formation of dams or other structures and user selection of surface reflection level. The presentation ended with a video of an automated inkjet installation incorporating 6-axis input and output robots.

The next speaker was Víctor Lázaro of Chemplate Materials SL
who introduced a novel laminating technology.  After some information on Chemplate the presentation introduced their lamination press machine using induction to produce the necessary heat to cure the laminates which was described as being radically different from the standard methods used to date (no oil, no electrical heaters and no steam). The novelty of the Chemplate system was described as the heat energy to cure the composite resins is produced only at the laminate material in each panel, at the same time, with the same temperature magnitude, without any thermal conduction delays. The system was able to offer extremely high temperatures at very high ramp-up rates with high energy efficiency in a very elegant package using minimal space. The operation of the inductive heating was explained as converting induced electric energy into heat directly in the separator plates thus generating heat on each single plate immediately to the laminate in contact above and below allowing quick thermal transfer throughout the entire stack height. Lázaro continued by summarizing the advantages of the new system and detailing the technical capabilities and concluded in stating that he saw the potential for the system for standard laminates, fast cycle lamination, advanced materials and R&D of new advanced materials to be industrialized.

 Uwe Altmann of Orbotech
was the next presenter with his paper entitled “AOI to AOS Workflow”. The paper began with an overview of state of the art AOI (automated optical inspection) systems. Altmann went on to describe the function of AOS (automatic optical shaping) systems which show great promise for improving workflow efficiency by the elimination of the verification station. Altmann explained that panels are scanned and defects are sent to remote multi-image verification (RMIV) then before shaping starts, high quality images of all defects are taken and sent to an SDC (shaping defects classification) station serving several AOS systems where the operator classifies all defects and selects only true defects resulting in a 60% – 70% reduction in false alarms and providing a one-stop solution for opens & shorts. The presentation concluded with Altmann demonstrating the resultant workflow improvement by removing the need for a verification station with resultant savings in manpower and floor space plus reduced capital equipment and less panel handling.

The final paper of the day and of the conference was delivered by Outi Rusanen of Tactotek

with her presentation entitled “Smart Molded Structures Bring Surfaces to Life”. The presentation started with a comparison of a teardown of a conventional automotive lighting cluster requiring 25 tools and with more than 60 assemblies to a functionally equivalent structure produced with IMSE (In-mold structural electronics) which required 2 tools, was a single assembly, weighed over 70% less and was 95% thinner. Rusanen explained that with this technology developers can eliminate complex multi-part electronics assemblies and replace them with one piece solutions that are thin, light, and strong, without compromising functionality. The process of forming the IMSE component was described as comprising printing, surface mounting (on flat film), shape forming and final injection moulding.  Reliability test data for rapid change of temperature (-40 C to +85 C) and steady-state temperature-humidity of 85C/85%RH was shared showing excellent results. The presentation concluded with the statement that IMSE has huge growth potential and offers a reliable alternative to conventional electronics with the advantage of significant weight and thickness reduction.

The conference came to a close after the final panel discussion and we thanked the sponsors AT&S, Adeon Technologies, Dyconex, Dupont, iConnect007, Isola, Orbotech, Polar Instruments and Ventec for their kind support with a special thank you to the City of Leoben and AT&S for making the conference so special. Thanks were also extended to the session chairs, the speakers and to the delegates for attending.

Final thanks were saved for EIPC Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg and EIPC Project Manager Carol Pelzers for their excellent organisation of the conference where despite being in Austria everything ran as smoothly as a Swiss watch!

Alun Morgan

EIPC Chairman

September 2019