Journal of SMT Article


Author: John L. Evans et al.
Company: Auburn University
Date Published: 10/1/2004   Volume: 17-4

Abstract: Automotive suppliers are striving to meet the challenges of products which must be designed to include increasingly advanced features, while maximizing both fuel efficiency and cost effectiveness. This change has a significant impact on engine and transmission controllers, which are being forced to operate in harsher environments with higher operating temperatures. To meet these needs, automotive electronics suppliers have pursued the use of metal-back laminate (typically FR4-06) substrates. These substrates provide an opportunity for very good heat sinking and use the metal backing as part of the housing assembly. One disadvantage of this design is the detrimental impact on solder joint reliability for many component packages, which is caused by the thermal expansion mismatch between the component and the substrate.

While there are many issues which must be addressed before metal-backed laminate substrates are deployed into automotive applications, this paper primarily focuses on the impact on component reliability for these applications. The focus of the research within this study is threefold: to determine overall component reliability using metal-backed laminate substrates, to investigate the impact of these substrates on the reflow process, and to study the impact of an alternate plating (ENIG) on component reliability. The results of this research will aid automotive companies in designing more robust controller modules for future vehicle generations.

Key words: component reliability, metal-backed substrates, harsh environment electronics.

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