FINEPLACER sub micron bonders for high precision assembly challenges
We’re continuously working on developing our products further to offer high-tech products "Made in Germany". We consider ourselves a leading manufacturer of R&D bonders for optoelectronics, chip packaging, detector assembly and many more demanding applications. Strong points of our products include high placement accuracy, unrivaled technological flexibility, but also reliability and an easy-to-use operating concept.
A sub-micron die bonder like the manual FINEPLACER lambda can be easily used for high precision soldering of a laser bar with e.g. AuSn. Due to a wide range of compatible extension modules and tools the same machine can also be used for ultrasonic or thermocompression bonding or for adhesive technologies. This degree of flexibility is highly appreciated by universities, institutes or commercial R&D departments.
With two recent entries in the 0.5 µm class, FINEPLACER sigma and FINEPLACER femto 2, we push forward to offer solutions for the semi and fully automated semiconductor production.
Against the general trend, we have decided years ago to keep the entire product development and production chain in our hands. This includes the machine hardware, process modules, control electronics, tooling, software, and more. Today, this proves to be a real advantage, especially when working on customer-specific solutions. The in-house approach results in short ways and response times during development and manufacturing.
We also put special emphasis on our application support unit. Experienced engineers help our customers with process development and sample assemblies. The close partnership gives us insights in the latest developments in microelectronics, photonics or medical technologies. Valuable information which directly informs the development of new FINEPLACER systems.
And wherever in the world we have machine installations, high quality service is our top priority. Our very own service engineers as well as the ones from our partners are constantly being trained in order to meet the high requirements of our customers.
What are the challenges facing Finetech in the industrial market and science?
The requirements are manifold and complex. But I’d like to give you some examples.
With on-going miniaturization, completely new challenges are facing us. Until recently, everyone thought that a component’s edge length of 0.2 mm would be the lower limit of what is possible to handle. And today our lab bonders already handle µLED components with edge lengths of 30 µm. This requires a whole set of new solutions – from adapted tool design to new processes. Also, in order to bond or glue such small parts, previous approaches are no longer viable.
In the field of image sensors/ focal planes/ IR detectors the requirements have been ramped up as well. The need for miniaturized components that offer more resolution has led to chip designs that really put a die bonder to the test. Highest placement accuracy, co-planarity and perfect process control within various 3D Packaging technologies are mandatory to be successful.
Many universities, institutes and companies are currently researching new bonding technologies such as nanowire based interconnections and packaging which could soon be an alternative to soldering, thermocompression or Indium bonding.
Novel materials like nanosilver sinter foil open up new ways to connect i.e. power electronics in high temperature areas. By bonding with sinter foil the quality of the electrical and thermal conductivity can be dramatically improved due to a void-free connection. As foil sintering is a "dry" process, gas emissions or contamination of active areas are no longer a risk. To employ this technology, equipment with bonding force way above 500 N is needed.
What innovations by Finetech can you note?
During last year’s Expoelectronica show we presented the FINEPLACER sigma for the first time in Europe. This semi-automated die bonder not only expands our range of sub-micron bonders but actually pushes the boundaries by achieving 0.5 micron placement accuracy across large 300 mm substrates (12’’ wafers). This is a first for semi-automated R&D bonders. Another highlight is the increased bonding force range from 0.2 up to 1 000 N – ideal for sinter bonding technologies.
Also available for the FINEPLACER sigma is the new Vacuum Chamber Module. The extension module allows precision die bonding processes under vacuum with pressures down to 10–3 hPa. Hermetic sealing is taken to another level and void density is significantly reduced for improved conductivity. Working in a near oxygen- free environment allows extra reliable and stable connections for applications prone to oxidation.
6 months ago we also introduced the new fully-automated die bonding platform FINEPLACER femto 2. The new generation of the acclaimed femto platform has been adapted to the production requirements of tomorrow. The innovative Vision Alignment System FPXvision, a climate-controlled machine enclosure, the completely revamped operating software and many more improvements allow us to achieve 0.5 mm @ 3Sigma. The system is suited for fully-automated production environments with focus on maximum yield.
What further innovation can we estimate from Finetech in nearest future?
Staying innovative is key. In that regard, our customers can look forward to how we define placement accuracy in the near future.
For certain applications it is already evident that tolerances for placement deviations are significantly lower than 0.5 µm. So we constantly work to find new techniques to meet the increased demands on placement accuracy and process control.
A great example is the alignment of a laser emitter to a waveguide where smallest misalignments result in a considerable drop in performance. The first task is to find the optimal emitter position. This is done by an iterative alignment process with a powered laser. During each step, the emitted light is measured via a photodiode until you have the position which gives you the best emission performance. Then comes another tricky part: bonding the laser component in this exact position. You need to employ a bonding technology which gives you a post-bond accuracy within specs. Which, as we’ve learned, are very tight. In a current case study, we solve this by integrating an active positioning unit for the laser component into the FINEPLACER. It allows alignment steps of few nanometers to systematically identify the best position.
A highly intriguing technology in this context is laser-assisted bonding which we make available for select FINEPLACER systems through an optional module. Depending on application requirements, laser energy can be used direct or indirect for thermal processes. It is perfect for applications in need of extremely fast heating cycles, a very local thermal input and highest post-bond accuracy.
Beyond that, we have research co-operations with universities and institutes on various topics and I’m very excited to present some of the results soon.
What is the structure of sales?
Our headquarters, a modern production and development center, are in Berlin, with an additional development facility in Dresden. Over time, we have steadily expanded our sales network. In some of our core markets we now operate own sales and support subsidiaries. Additionally, we have more than 20 countries, with Russia being one of them, where we work together with local sales partners. Some representatives focus on either Micro Assembly or SMD Rework, other partners cover both segments.
What is the sales and service strategy of Finetech in Russia?
We’ve been working successfully in Russia for many years together with our sales partners EuroIntech and Global Engineering from Moscow.
EuroIntech is in charge of customers from the field of micro assembly. Global Engineering is responsible for all things related to SMD rework equipment. Both partners make major contributions to our success in Russia, by giving support in marketing, sales and after-sales service.
Both companies have a staff of trained and Finetech-certified service engineers for on-site customer support. If required, Finetech specialists from Germany will join in for particularly challenging projects.
What types and models of equipment are in the most demand?
There are few differences between the markets in Russia and Europe. In the Micro Assembly segment, the multi-purpose bonding platform FINEPLACER pico ma is the most demanded device. It offers 5 µm placement accuracy, is easy to use and can be employed for a large spectrum of applications and technologies. Due to a high degree of customizability, each machine is unique. Depending on application requirements, the customer can choose between various bond force ranges, illumination options, optics and process modules.
How have the requirements of the equipment users changed?
Evidently, the accuracy requirements for many tasks have been increased over time. Consequently, Finetech offers several base systems for the sub-micron bonder class who fit various application scenarios – from manual R&D process development to fully-automated production environments.
Most of our Russian customers rely on individual equipment configurations which was tailor-made to suit their application requirements. Due to the open machine architecture, they make use of retrofit and extension modules instead of purchasing a new machine in case of changed application conditions. This saves them money and they can still benefit from our latest developments for many years.
Not least, we are always working together with our Russian customers to offer them the best possible user experience. This includes localized software variants or hardware and software interfaces for a seamless integration of third party equipment, i.e. measuring technology.