by Adele Pliscott, SiP Packaging Engineer, Filtronic
Outsourced semiconductor assembly and testing (OSAT) companies provide specialist manufacturing capabilities for semiconductor suppliers serving specific industries. Outsourcing your manufacturing and testing to a specialist provider can enable you to manufacture more complex devices, optimise costs and efficiencies, access niche expertise, reduce production time, increase output and allow you to focus on your core specialisms.
The relationship you develop with your OSAT partner is critical to your success in delivering the complex semiconductor assemblies required by your clients. When you are providing hybrid electronic products for extremely challenging high-temperature applications, such as those in oil and gas or aerospace environments, choosing the right OSAT partner can be key to delivering the innovative, high-reliability control and monitoring equipment your clients demand. This is not a traditional Contract Manufacturing Service or a build-to-print activity, it involves a much more integrated partnership-led approach.
There are a number of attributes, skills and capabilities to look out for when choosing an OSAT partner to deliver complex hybrid electronic products.
Access to technical expertise
Not only do you want to find a company that has the technical skills and knowledge to help you design and manufacture hermetic hybrid electronics, you need a partner that gives you direct access to those specialists. Developing the kinds of complex electronic products currently being pioneered in the oil and gas sector requires a process of continuous collaboration, knowledge sharing and testing. You want to work with an OSAT organisation that allows you to build direct working relationships with its technical specialists.
Track record in complex microelectronic engineering
The oil and gas sector is breaking new ground in the development of electronics used for monitoring in-situ drilling and well barriers. Drill monitoring places electronic devices in high-temperature, high-vibration environments, while devices used to monitor well barriers can be encased in concrete for up to 15 years, meaning long-life reliability is key. In aerospace, clients are looking to develop near-engine controllers, which must operate reliably in extremely high-temperature locations.
Choosing an OSAT partner to manufacture products for these applications means finding a provider with experience in designing and manufacturing similarly complex devices. A partner with a proven track record in comparable high-performance applications such as the defence, aerospace or space sectors. A successful long-lasting partnership can be achieved by choosing a partner with a proven track record of consistently delivering high-quality results and ongoing improvements in yield above 98%.
Materials and component knowledge
Manufacturing hybrid electronic systems to deliver high reliability at high temperatures requires an in-depth knowledge of materials and components. You need a partner who knows how to specify the right materials and components to prevent intermetallic contamination, reduce the risk of corrosion and maintain structural integrity in harsh operating conditions – for many years.
Compliance with challenging standards
Look for an OSAT partner that can manufacture and test microelectronics to the strictest regulatory standards. For oil and gas applications, your partner needs to work to Advanced Well Equipment Standards (AWES) as a minimum. Existing military (MIL) standards provide a more robust framework, but the demands of high-temperature applications above 150°C mean your OSAT partner will need to work to standards that go beyond MIL. You need a partner that has the most rigorous in-house testing capabilities, which can be customised to meet challenging standards and achieve external qualifications. Full traceability throughout the process is critical, as is a facility that provides full compliance for secure or classified materials.
Agility and adaptability
Requirements and expectations for control and monitoring equipment move quickly in the oil and gas sector, where these components are in their infancy. Choosing an OSAT partner that combines design and manufacturing excellence with the ability to customise processes quickly in response to new challenges will help to keep you ahead of the competition. Look for a partner that allows you to work engineer-to-engineer, giving you the flexibility to innovate at pace. Such mutually supportive teamwork is essential in an industry that is constantly pushing the boundaries of microelectronics.
End-to-end capabilities – from design to testing
Your ability to collaborate, innovate, optimise efficiencies and achieve repeatable standards will be greatly enhanced if you choose an OSAT partner that offers complete end-to-end capabilities in-house. That means finding a partner with design, manufacturing and testing expertise and facilities under one roof. If your partner also has excellent supply chain connections and close working relationships with materials suppliers, the risks of delays and interruption to production processes are significantly reduced. When it comes to RF products, it’s crucial to choose an RF partner for OSAT work because of their complicated nature. The OSAT partner must have the necessary skills and facilities to ensure maximum success.
Proven OSAT solutions with Filtronic
At Filtronic, we have been working with technical leaders in some of the most demanding industries for many years, helping them to manufacture precision hybrid microelectronics to exacting standards. Our process understanding sets us apart in the market – we recognise that achieving high reliability requires not just excellence in design but also in processing.
With all this expertise in-house, we have the capabilities to manufacture complex electronics to repeatable standards for applications where thermal management and reliability are paramount. This has enabled us to build collaborative working relationships with industries that are pioneering new applications for hybrid semiconductor modules.
If you are looking for an OSAT partner for a challenging application like Oil & Gas or Aerospace, or if you are looking for a market leading RF OSAT partner, contact the specialists at Filtronic who can offer the expertise and advice you need.
Find out more about Filtronic’s capabilities:
- RF Solutions for Public Safety Critical Communications
- Aerospace and defence applications
- RF Solutions for Space
- RF Testing and Measurement