Optoelectronics and Telecom Conference Proceedings


PHOTONICS ASSEMBLY IN AN EMS ENVIRONMENT

Author: Glenn Woodhouse
Company: MCMS, Inc.
Date Published: 11/14/2001   Conference: Optoelectronics and Telecom


Abstract: The explosion of the Internet has driven phenomenal growth in networking hardware requirements. This rapid growth trend has required Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to turn to the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry as a means to quickly and efficiently satisfy their manufacturing needs. The most pronounced Internet trend of the new millennium is an insatiable thirst for bandwidth. Conventional copper based networks, although improving in speed through evolving hardware solutions, cannot promise the quantum leap in bandwidth capacity that the fiber optic solutions demonstrate with currently available technology. Unfortunately, the hardware side of the fiber optic based networking infrastructure is in its infancy. As a result, the majority of the fiber optic networking hardware manufacturing has resided within captive OEM plants. The transition has begun for the migration of photonics assembly from OEM to EMS in order to meet the huge new demand for optical network bandwidth.

Optical network hardware employs all of the same Surface Mount Technology (SMT) intensive electronics as the traditional copper network hardware. However, fiber optics presents new challenges in the incorporation of on-board lasers, photo diodes, and passive optical components such as splitters, filters, multiplexers and demultiplexers (mux/demux’s), optical fiber, and fiber connectors. All of these photonic components require interconnection, mounting, and testing processes outside of traditional EMS competencies. In the past these skill intensive processes, residing in the labs and plants of the OEM, have not lent to mass production automation. Herein lies the challenge of the technology transfer from OEM to EMS and the scaling of manufacturing processes to meet the increasing volume demands while insuring high quality and reliability with ever decreasing manufacturing costs.

This paper introduces the reader to photonic components, their assembly and test processes, and the unique manufacturing challenges and paradigm shift to be faced by “SMT-centric” manufacturers.

Key words: fiber, photonic, photonics, optic, optics, fusion splicing.



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