Stacked Packages, ‘Boardless’ Mountings Step Forward

Semiconductor packaging constantly changes, impacting the printed board industry. A couple interesting directions popped up recently when I talked with ams AG, an analog semiconductor house based in Austria.

Heinz Oyrer, the senior marketing manager for automotive at ams, casually mentioned a couple changes that are occurring in the high reliability components sold to automakers. The company makes magnetic sensors, power devices and wireless components for autos as well as consumer and industrial markets.

Oyrer mentioned that ams is housing high reliability devices in lead frames. That makes it possible to mount chips without using a circuit board. Oyrer, who didn’t know I write for IPC, jokingly commented that the customers like it, but circuit board suppliers won’t be too happy with that trend.

No doubt he’s right, particularly about automotive companies preferring to eliminate the cost, size and manufacturing steps of a substrate. Automakers who hope to sell a few million electronic modules over a few years will do a lot to save a penny per module.

Oyrer also described plans to start moving stacked die packages into broad production. A few of its automotive components lend themselves to multichip packaging, again saving cost and size for customers.

It was interesting to get unsolicited confirmation that trends discussed by IPC are on track. Just as interesting is that Oyrer didn’t cite these as meaningful steps for ams. They were mentioned casually as secondary aspects in the company’s ongoing product evolution. They may not be major for ams, but they’re certainly interesting trends for those in the circuit board and packaging fields.

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