Durability and Cost Benefits Drive Mil-Aero Demand for OCPP

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Chip packaging for military and aerospace applications must meet stringent requirements for robustness, longevity, and cost savings. Open-cavity plastic packaging has a proven history and a bright future for this market. 

Ceramic packages were, for many years, the option of choice for semiconductor prototype assembly, particularly in military-aerospace applications. They can withstand high temperatures and can be hermetically sealed. However, they can be costly and, while they allow for rapid assembly of first samples, the final product is typically a plastic package, so the ceramic prototype doesn’t offer an accurate representation. This need for a better, more viable alternative to ceramic was one of the catalysts that gave rise to open-cavity plastic packaging (OCPP).

OCPP is the ideal platform for new IC prototypes because the packages are mechanically and electrically identical to a chipmaker’s future transfer-molded production parts. They can be prepared in advance and stored for assembly as soon as the wafers and/or die are ready.

OCPP is made to withstand the test of time. This article looks at the benefits and advantages of OCPP and describes a real-world project that illustrates why utilizing OCPP for device designs offers a cost-effective solution for low- to mid-volume packaging destined for mil-aero end applications.

The Need for a Secure Supply
Semiconductor manufacturers have always striven to optimize utilization of their fab, packaging and assembly resources. The global pandemic and subsequent supply-chain issues that began in 2020 created shortages that have elevated the need to maximize these resources—and to revisit or take a new look at existing solutions with attractive time and cost benefits.

When a project or customer deadline looms, outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) providers may not have the resources to provide the parts needed in a timely manner. OSATs aren’t structured to support product development and device verification processes. Smaller, more nimble companies can have open-cavity plastic packages readily available for quick-turn assembly of prototypes and small quantities of packaged devices.

This challenge becomes even more pronounced when the devices in question are developed for military or aerospace end products, which have stringent requirements with respect to long-term robustness and functionality. In the U.S., security restrictions also require that assembly be provided by a stateside supplier, but most OSATs are located offshore.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the January 2023 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.


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