BAM Blog: How packaging issues accelerate EOL

Before & AfterMarket (BAM) Blog: Nobody likes to be duped. Anyone who has ever bought a “designer” handbag on the street at a huge discount quickly figures out the deal was too good to be true. Something that looked genuine on the outside turns out to be fake.

The same holds true for electronics components. The components themselves are re-marked, re-topped or re-labeled to look like the originals; or are repackaged to look brand new. In some applications, even if the device itself is authentic, repackaging the item can render it counterfeit. “There is no longer such a thing as standard packaging,” according to Dan Deisz, director of design engineering for semiconductor manufacturer and distributor Rochester Electronics LLC.

Chip failure in a consumer product can be damaging to the brand; failure in a military or aerospace application can be a matter of life and death. To curtail the incidence of counterfeit or mislabeled parts in its supply chain, the U.S. government has recently placed the responsibility for sourcing authentic components squarely on shoulders of subcontractors that serve the U.S military and aerospace markets.

Buyers in the military market have responded to the threat by buying and holding on to wafers until the devices are ready to be packaged. “That used to be a sound strategy,” explains Deisz, “for both wafers and packaging substrates; however, today’s custom packaging (especially flip-chip) creates reliability issues with bumped wafers and package substrates over long-term storage (20+ years). Flip-chip substrates are typically not held in storage by assembly houses for more than two years” Deisz says. Sole-source custom packaging limits sourcing options for customers and contractors that are using COTS devices in military and aerospace designs.

Companies such as Rochester Electronics help provide long-term solutions through its own assembly engineering team who evaluate customer packaging needs. They determine whether customers can be matched with existing assembly capability, new capability, or through the re-introduction of the original. Fully-authorized packaging solutions help customers avoid that become threatening after an EOL notification.

Packaging options from Rochester include CDIP, CERPACK, CPGA, CQFP, CLCC, SB DIP, Flat Pack, PDIP, QFP, SOP, PLCC, BGA, and SOJ. The new package undergoes extensive qualification in order to ensure that it performs to the same level or better than the OEM packages performed.

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