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Significance of LEDs in the electronic industry

1. LED meets SMT forum
Significance of LEDs in the electronic industry

The industry of LEDs has grown exponentially, due to its high durability, long service life, as well as, distinct capabilities in versatile applications. In order to ensure the high-quality production of LEDs, the manufacturing process needs to follow updated trends, requirements, and proficient methods. Depending on individual processes, the material used (solder paste, solder pad, etc.) is of high importance, which also correlates to the methods applied for component placement, soldering, and inspection. Due to this shift in the industry, EPP hosted the LED meets SMT forum in collaboration with Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH for the first time.

Taking place in Regensburg, Germany, visitors gained knowledge on solutions to manufacturing challenges, as experts discussed the implications the electronics industry has on LEDs. Participating companies included AT&S AG, Heraeus Deutschland, Ersa, ASM Assembly Systems, Asscon Systemtechnik-Elektronik, Koh Young Europe, Rehm Thermal Systems, and Viscom AG. The all-day German event consisted of technical presentations made by industry leaders with a keynote presentation from Osram Opto Semiconductors, as well as, networking opportunities. The entire manufacturing of LEDs was covered, including topics such as thermal conductive, material positioning, optimal soldering processes, and quality inspection. Visitors were given the chance to participate in a tour of Osram’s SMT laboratory, complete with a LED line assembly, which consists of a printer, placement system, vacuum reflow soldering oven, as well as, inspection systems.

Keeping up with LED trends

As this industry continues to grow, design difficulties are arising along with changes in production needs. LED manufacturing requires high assembly accuracy, nearly free of voids, as well as, attention to thermal resistance. Optical impairment of the LED is also probable, where cracks and breaks in bond wire or a chip offset can occur. Correct heat dissipation is becoming a challenge with miniaturization trends and overloaded boards. This can create an overheating of components, and ultimately impact the product life. Which is also a cause to pay attention to the design of PCB, solder pads, as well as, the type of paste.

Advantages of different soldering methods were discussed, depending on specific processes. Whether using vapor phase, vacuum, or convection reflow technologies, all agreed that the goal is to have an oxidation-free process for void-free results. Solder paste was also analyzed, including the optimum amount of paste and its volume that would be needed to accomplish the best bonding results. Chip placement, as well as, solder pad design and size were also common topics, explaining the best solutions to overcome any thermal issues.

A variety of inspection tools were presented, to ensure solder pads, beads, pores, as well as, partially or completely concealed solder joints were visible. It is sufficient to inspect visible joints with 2D technology but was recommended to use 3D inspection for any hidden joints. It was also advised to invest in error prevention tools, in order to regularly improve processes.

The 2nd LED meets SMT forum will take place October 24th, 2019 in Regensburg, Germany. (cp)


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