June 2017

Join us at SurFin 2017 in Atlanta!

Stop by and meet our Sales Team

While at our booth...

Tytan - Clean, continuous hot water, precise temperature control on UL listed, turn-key system. View a 3D model in our new Splashbox.

Frontier Inline Chemical/Solvent Heater - Need to heat solvents? The Frontier is UL823 certified!

Meet our Regional Sales Manager, Edgar Whitby!

BINGO! Don't forget to get your card stamped when you stop by!

May 2017

Avoid Purchasing Counterfeit Heaters

Illegal imitations and representations of Process Technology® products in Asia

Process Technology wants to ensure that you purchase a genuine Process Technology product. Counterfeit Process Technology products are being produced by Guangzhou BaoDa Electrothermal Titanium Product Co., Ltd, Guangzhou Precise Heater Co, and its’ subsidiaries. BaoDa Electrothermal and their Sales Director, Sam Leo, also claims to represent Process Technology as its Chinese subsidiary, but this is false representation. There is no link between Process Technology and BaoDa Electrothermal and has never been. Here are a few photos displaying how Process Technology model numbers are being used by counterfeitors to fool their customers.

Customers that use counterfeit products risk malfunction of the end equipment as well as damaging the credibility of their brand. We request that our customers make certain to purchase genuine Process Technology products only through our authorized distributors/agents to prevent the use of mistakenly purchased counterfeit products. If you need help in evaluating suspect products, please use this link to fill out our Verification Form. Product Verification Form

For more information on this topic, visit our page: ImitationHeaters

Protec Tip!

By CJ

Do you have control unit with erratic/unstable display? Here are some things that you can check to solve your problem!

Sensor leads routed inside conduit with power leads. Shield or reroute sensor leads, adjust sensitivity of signal filter in configuration menu.

Excessive EMI/RFI on power supply Add line filter to power supply.

Electrolytic capacitor failure on power supply Return control to factory for repairs.

For more information on control issues, see our troubleshooting pages! Click here! !

Infineon rides automotive wave into Top-10 semi supplier ranking

Solid State Technology, May 12, 2017 IC Insights will release its May Update to the 2017 McClean Report later this month. This Update includes a discussion of the 1Q17 semiconductor industry market results, an update of the capital spending forecast by company, a review of the IC market by electronic system type, and a look at the top-25 1Q17 semiconductor suppliers (the top-10 1Q17 semiconductor suppliers are covered in this research bulletin). The top-10 worldwide semiconductor (IC and O S D—optoelectronic, sensor, and discrete) sales ranking for 1Q17 is shown in Figure 1. It includes four suppliers headquartered in the U.S., two in Europe, two in South Korea, and one each in Singapore and Japan. In total, the top-10 semiconductor suppliers represented 56% of the 1Q17 worldwide semiconductor market of $99.6 billion (2Q17 is forecast to be the first ever quarterly semiconductor market to exceed $100 billion).

Figure 1

Intel held a slim 4% lead over Samsung for the number one position in 1Q17. However, as reported in an earlier IC Insights’ Research Bulletin, Samsung is on pace to displace Intel as the world’s largest semiconductor supplier in 2Q17. Memory giants SK Hynix and Micron made the biggest moves in the 1Q17 ranking as compared to the full-year 2016 ranking. Spurred by the recent surge in the DRAM and NAND flash markets, each company moved up two spots in the top-10 ranking with SK Hynix now occupying the third position and Micron moving up to fourth. There was one new entrant into the top-10 ranking in 1Q17—Germany-headquartered Infineon. The company’s 1Q17/1Q16 sales increase was 6%. Infineon replaced fabless supplier MediaTek, whose 1Q17/1Q16 sales were up by 7% to $1.8 billion but the company suffered a sequential 1Q17/4Q16 sales decline of 17%. Half of the top-10 companies had sales of at least $4.0 billion in 1Q17. As shown, it took $1.9 billion in quarterly sales just to make it into the 1Q17 top-10 semiconductor supplier list. As would be expected, given the possible acquisitions and mergers that could/will occur this year (e.g., Qualcomm/NXP), as well as any new ones that may develop, the top-10 semiconductor ranking is likely to undergo some significant changes over the next few years as the semiconductor industry continues along its path to maturity.

Electroiq.com Blog 5/12/2017 Electroiq.com

Protec Tip!

By CJ

Do you have an electric immersion heater that keeps tripping its thermal protector? Here are some things that you can check to solve your problem!

Buildup on heater sheath. Any deposit on the heater sheath will act as a thermal insulator and cause localized overheating. Inspect and clean heaters frequently. Check application, as de-rated heaters may be required in most solutions that buildup quickly. Replace protectors or recommend heater replacement as required. De-rate heaters to reduce the surface temperature. Consult installation sheets for details.

Watt density too high. Unusually heavy, viscous or poorly conductive fluids reduce heat transfer around the element, causing localized overheating. Check solution concentration or viscosity (may need chemical supplier’s MSDS sheets to verify). May be able to use higher temperature protectors or de-rate heaters to reduce opening. Replace protectors or recommend heater replacement as required. Consult installation sheets for details.

Protectors electrically overloaded. Excessive current flow through the thermal protectors will cause resistance heating through protector and a de-ration of the thermal set point. Rewire heater using a contactor or relay to energize the heater and wire protector in series with contactor coil/thermostat circuit. Higher temperature thermal protectors may be considered in some applications. Consult factory and installation sheets for details.

For more information on thermal protectors issues, see our troubleshooting pages! Click here! !

Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging Takes Off

By Clark Tseng and Dan Tracy, SEMI

Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging (FOWLP) has become the buzz word and hot topic for the semiconductor industry. As TechSearch International discussed at the recent SEMI Strategic Materials Conference, FOWLP offers numerous performance and cost advantages in terms of smaller form factor and thinner package, higher I/O density, multi-die solutions, and more. While FOWLP technology has been developed and discussed for years, only now we are certain that it will make a big splash in the market. This all comes from one of the world’s best-selling gadgets, the Apple iPhone.

Apple’s iPhones have always been a market trend setter by incorporating new features and technologies in their products and refreshing them every year. This year’s iPhone 7 brings in more than new cameras, faster processor, and high color gamut display. Inside the new iPhone 7, the 16nm FinFET-based A10 processor has implemented TSMC’s FOWLP-based InFO (Integrated Fan-Out) technology integrating application processor and mobile DRAM in one package. What sets the FOWLP apart from package-on-package (POP) form factors found in earlier generations of iPhones are thinner packaging profile, higher I/O counts, better electrical and thermal performance, and yet a better cost structure. This is clearly a game changer of the packaging industry. Apple/TSMC have set the tone for the packaging technologies trend in mobile market in the years to come. Behind the success of InFO implementation in the iPhone, TSMC has been developing the technologies since 2014. To facilitate the commercialization, TSMC set up a new back-end facility in Longtan dedicated to advanced packaging technologies, which is also the production base for InFO. TSMC also plans to introduce second generation InFO technology along with the mass production of 10nm chips scheduled in 2017, while expanding its InFO production to its Taichung site. Meanwhile, leading OSATs are all following suit by building up FOWLP capabilities to defend their turf and to serve the rising demand, especially in mobile applications, for these packages. ASE Group is building a Fan-Out line in Kaohsiung targeting mass production in late 2016/early 2017; Amkor set up a FOWLP line in Korea; SPIL is going to deploy Fan-Out line in Taichung in 2017. Almost all other major OSATs, as well as some IDMs (Samsung, STMicroelectronics, and others), are planning their versions of fan-out packaging. The implementation of FOWLP is expected to impact related equipment and materials market in the years to come. TSMC spent almost 10% of their capex this year (US$ 9.5 billion) on InFO capacity. Though some of the investment is meant for 2017 capacity, it’s still a significant amount. The investment momentum will continue with OSATs and IDMs getting into the market. Related equipment segments including SMT placement equipment (pick and place), PVD, PECVD, ECD, and compression molding shall benefit most from the capacity build-up. On the material side, dielectric materials and new molding compounds are playing an important role in delivering a reliable and cost effective solution. And, the elimination of the package substrate and underfill during the FOWLP process will also have some impact on the respective markets. Going forward, we will see more FOWLP implementation in packaging baseband processors, PMIC, GPU, and RF devices in mobile devices and wearable products. FOWLP also has the potential extending to CPU, GPU, FPGA packaging for high-performance computing. As noted by TechSearch and other industry leaders, FOWLP is not only a disruptive technology but also changes the dynamics in the foundry-OSAT ecosystem. FOWLP is taking off and will be a form factor flexible enough to deliver solutions for heterogeneous integration needed in many emerging applications. For more information about SEMI, visit www.semi.org!

April 2017

Process Technology Bake Sale Supports "No Kid Hungry"

The Process Technology Helping Hands Committee sponsered a bake sale to support No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength campaign to help end childhood hunger acrosss our nation. Team members baked and donated delicious items that raised over $200 for the cause.

Did you know that 1 in 6 U.S. kids don't get the food they need every day? This takes a terrible toll on their health and development, and threatens their futures in profound ways. It also drags down our nation's economy by perpetuating the cycle of poverty. With all of our support, No Kid Hungry works to ensure that every child in the United States has access to healthy food where they live, where they learn and where they play. Would you like to learn more about this cause? Go to nokidhungry.orgto learn more!

2017 Top Shops Benchmarking Survey: Investments, Profits Are Trending Up

Analysis: Trends show more consistencies than differences over time; shops are increasing capital expenditures each year, with shops ranking at the top spending at 10 percent of gross sales. Jan Schafer has only stepped foot in a few electroplating shops, but she knows a lot about how the most efficient and profitables ones operate. Schafer is the market research manager for Gardner Business Intelligence, a division of Gardner Business Media, the parent company of Products Finishing. She’s been poring over stacks of data from hundreds of plating shops in North America that took part in the Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey in late 2016. Each year, Schafer uses data from shops to compute scores and run algorithms that determine which shops place in the top echelon of the plating industry, and thus earn status as a Products Finishing Top Shop. Schafer’s team also tabulates the data to provide a comprehensive benchmarking report given back to participating shops to examine and use in their own operations to improve efficiencies and reduce waste. This year, Schafer is looking at trends, a first-time analysis opportunity now that the program has been in place for three years. Looking at the different measures across years, she’s seeing a fair amount of consistency in how the values move over time, but is calling out some “departures” as well. “Sales growth rates, for example, decline year-to-year with the exception of shops in the top 20 percent on this measure,” she says. “Sales growth rates at the top of the range stabilize in 2017, while the average sales growth among total shops continues to decline. In fact, sales growth rates among shops at the bottom of the range have fallen to zero.” Another observation is that, as a whole, shops are increasing their capital expenditures each year, with shops ranking at the top on this measure spending at an average rate of 10 percent of gross sales. That rate of spending is up almost 2 percentage points from a year ago, and up almost 4 points from the year before. For perspective, average spending on capital equipment among all shops is just half that rate. Schafer offers a snapshot of what trends she sees in the 2017 report, which takes into account business activities in 2016. Across the board: Profit is trending up Investment rate is trending up Quality is steady Lead time is steady Focusing on shops with values in the top 20 percent on the respective measures: Sales growth rate is about the same versus a year ago, defying the otherwise pervasive downward trend. Profits increase to a marginally greater degree versus shops landing at the other extreme, the bottom 20 percent. Lead time is back on track following a downward blip the previous year. Some contrasts: Shops ranking at the top on sales growth rates are widening the gaps versus median and bottom ranked shops over time. The same can’t be said for shops ranking tops on profit. On that measure, median-ranked shops are increasing profits over time to a greater degree. Shops that completed the Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey will soon receive a series of reports that separate the survey data into categories, including type of finishing business (job shop, contract shop or captive operation), number of employees and number of parts produced. In addition, we send an Executive Summary comparing responses between the Top Shops benchmarking group and the rest of the survey participants. This benchmarking group represents the top percentage of electroplating shops determined by totaling the points assigned to select business- and technology-related questions. These reports not only serve as a baseline “report card” of sorts, but also provide hard data that will eliminate the need to rely on gut feelings as a method of identifying and prioritizing improvement efforts. The survey for liquid and powder coating shops starts May 1.

Article by Tim Pennington, Editor, Products Finishing Magazine 4/1/2017 PFonline

Can Aqueous Alkaline Cleaner Be Used on Aluminum?

Q. We use an aqueous alkaline cleaner to process parts with ultrasonics and filtered circulation. The process does well on stainless steel parts, but I have an issue with aluminum parts, using the same parameters, minus the ultrasonics. The aluminum parts come out of the bath with dark, black streaks and spots. Should I not use the same bath to process aluminum and stainless steel? Can aqueous alkaline cleaner be used on aluminum?

A. Probably not. Cleaners that are formulated to clean metal like stainless steel usually cannot be used for aluminum. Since industrial processing of stainless steel (forming, bending, cutting, etc.) is typically more demanding than a similar operation for aluminum, the lubricants used can be difficult to remove. Therefore, most aqueous alkaline cleaners formulated for use on stainless steel have a high pH and will contain quite a bit of free caustic in the form of sodium or potassium hydroxide (in addition to ingredients like surfactants and buffers). If a cleaner like this is used on aluminum, it tends to etch the surface. This condition will be made worse with elevated temperature and longer periods of time. Additionally, the higher the concentration of the cleaner, the worse the etching and discoloration. Free caustic will quickly reduce the naturally-occurring oxide on aluminum and immediately start to etch and dissolve it. Most industrial aluminum is alloyed to attain specific properties (typically with copper, manganese, silicon, magnesium and zinc). The discoloration of the aluminum is the presence of the undissolved alloying elements and the secondary phases that they form that are not attacked in the high pH bath. They wipe off fairly easily, although chemical removal is generally only attained by use of an acid (like nitric) to dissolve these alloying elements.

Content shared on 3/1/2017 by PFonline

Foundry Manufactures Oscar Statues

ROCK TAVERN, N.Y. (AP) — Every Oscar fist-pumped or tearfully cradled by Academy Award winners is first cast, buffed and fussed over at a foundry far from Hollywood (view photos in gallery). Workers at the Polich Tallix fine art foundry, about 50 miles north of New York City, began work in late September on the awards to be handed out Feb. 26. Each of the 60 Oscars shipped from the hangar-like production floor is 13½ inches tall with the same distinctive Art Deco features polished to a mirror finish. Each glossy black base lacks only a winner's nameplate, which is added after the ceremony. Polich Tallix, which began making the awards last year, tweaked the look of the stylized knight with an eye toward the original statuettes handed out in 1929. The path of these new statues from a small town in upstate New York to center stage in Hollywood might not be the stuff of movies. But it's worth a close-up. Casting Call Every Oscar starts with a version made of wax, which is repeatedly dipped into a cream-colored ceramic slurry. The ceramic hardens and the wax is melted out to make way for molten bronze. What's left once the ceramic mold is chipped away is a sort of rough-hewn version of the elegant icon. John Menzie and other workers make sure every surface detail — from Oscar's hairline to the film reel it stands on — is hand-sanded and polished to a fine finish. Menzie said it's a kick to see the pieces you worked on for hours handed out on TV, like he did last year while watching the Academy Awards. "When Leonardo DiCaprio gave his speech and he was holding his Oscar I was just thinking ... I might have worked on that one," Menzie said. "I wish in his acceptance speech, he would have said the serial number that was on the back, you know? So I could say, "That's the one I worked on!'"

Best Visual Effects When Polich Tallix took over production from a Chicago company, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked the foundry to create a statue truer to the original. Foundry artist Daniel Plonski made 3-D scans of an early statue and a recent statue, and took desired qualities from each for the newest iteration. Oscar's restoration was subtle; his stylized facial features are more defined, there's a greater hint of his ears and a hair part, and his sword rests in sharper relief between his legs. "The trick was not to make it too shockingly different," Plonski said. The most substantial difference is one people don't see. The statue is once again cast in bronze, instead of a pewter-like alloy.

And the Award Goes To The statues are shipped to Brooklyn for 24-karat-gold electroplating at Epner Technology, which also is in its second year of Oscar making. President David Epner said that before his company became involved in Oscar production, actor F. Murray Abraham and a couple of other award winners had asked him to plate gold finishes that were wearing off. He vows that won't happen under his process, which includes copper plating and nickel plating each statue before gold plating. "The gold is guaranteed — not for the life of the recipient, but for the life of the statue," Epner said Polich Tallix has one more task after the nominees are announced: making a nameplate for each possible winner. The award winners are handed an Oscar on stage with no nameplate on it. Winners can later take their statue to a table backstage to get their nameplate affixed. The unused plates are destroyed.

March 2017

How to Extend the Life of Electroless Nickel Chemistry

Content Source: Products Finishing, www.pfonine.com.

Q. We have been having some issues with our electroless nickel line. We want the bath to last longer, but are afraid of a decrease in quality. How can we help our EN bath last longer while improving our quality? A. The electroless nickel (EN) plater commonly wants the bath to stay in the tank for long periods of time so they don't have to transfer, due to plate-out, usually because they don't want to deal with transferring/passivating, as it can be time consuming and even dangerous in the presence of nitric acid fumes. Overly stable baths.Some EN suppliers increase stability with heavy metals or organic stabilizers. This keeps the bath in the tank for long periods, with some negative consequences. Starting the bath with a pH of 4.8 to 4.9 and at 188°F to 195°F can cause problems as the bath gets older. You can’t raise the pH or the temperature much more because it will cause whiteouts and decomposition of the bath. As the bath ages, it slows down, and there is no way to raise the plating rate. Once the bath starts this way, you're stuck with those parameters for the life of the bath. Heavy use of stabilizers will co-deposit onto the substrate causing microcracking. Since the bath is loaded with organic or metallic stabilizers, corrosion will reduce. Staying in the tank for long periods of time can increase drag-in issues, roughness and contamination. If the bath is in a tank for long periods of time, it will build up particulates on the bottom of the tank, especially without bottom plumbing or proper filtration.

Inconsistent EN tank design is also common. However, what I see most is lack of bottom plumbing, improper filtration and unsafe transferring and passivating of the EN tanks. Bottom plumbing of EN tanks is not new. Tanks without bottom plumbing—just a pump inside the tank—are better than no pump at all, but this can be drastically improved. Improper bottom plumbing. Lack of bottom plumbing mimics a beaker on a hot plate; eventually the bottom will start plating. You can use air and a stirrer, but it will eventually take off. Minimal circulation of the bath can cause roughness, plate-out and reduce bath life and deposit quality. Improper filtration. Filtration cleans out particles falling into the bath from parts (barrel plating), racks or even ceilings. The two methods are the 5 micron filter bag or an encased filter in a cartridge. Optimum filtration uses a filter bag in an open box so you can see if the bag begins to plate out. The EN will flow across the tank and help with hydrogen release. EN will plate almost anything, so at some point it is going to plate your tank. Eventually you will need to transfer the nickel out of the tank and passivate it. Most platers avoid this because nitric acid is not the easiest to deal with. It takes time and exposes the plater to nitric acid fumes due to the use of hand pumps to get the nitric acid in and out of the tank. The same is true when a plater neutralizes the nitric with ammonia; sometimes if there is only one EN tank, the bath starts plating out and needs to be pumped out into a drum or tote, which takes more time and effort. Improper transferring/passivation processes can leave nitric acid in the tank (also attributed to improper bottom plumbing.) Nitric acid will cause havoc on an EN bath with slow rates and deposit issues including adhesion, blistering, pull-away and streaking. Nitric acid can even cause the bath to stop, causing the parts to turn black. The greatest danger is to the plater’s health such as respiratory problems and severe burns caused by nitric acid. The plater often needs to be inside the tank to remove nitric acid. Here are some solutions. If the tank is bottom plumbed, then the pump and the filter can be outside the tank. If you have electric heaters, they can be strategically placed in the tank to save space, and the flow of the filter bag coming from the bottom plumbing can help the heaters from taking off. If you have a boiler, the heat exchanger can be plumbed outside the tank into the bottom plumbing and it will help the heat exchanger from taking off. This ensures proper flow of the bath with turnover from the pump, and it greatly improves filtration because it is sucking off the bottom, increasing bath life, plating rates and deposit quality. If performed correctly, you can then transfer safely and quickly (less than an hour). Having clean passivated tanks will save time and money and help EN bath performance. If set up correctly, you do not need as stable of a bath because you can transfer easily, have proper flow and filtration and know that your passivation is done correctly. Instead of starting out at a pH of 4.9 and a temperature of 190°F, you can then begin at a pH of 4.4 to 4.6, 180°F to 185°F, and achieve a solid plating rate. As the bath ages, you can increase the pH and temperature and continue to attain a solid plating rate, a better deposit, longer life and overall increased production.

U.S. companies still hold largest share of fabless company IC sales

Research information that will be posted in the March Update to the 20th anniversary 2017 edition of IC Insights’ McClean Report shows that fabless IC suppliers represented 30% of the world’s IC sales in 2016 (up from only 18% ten years earlier in 2006). As the name implies, fabless IC companies do not have an IC fabrication facility of their own. Figure 1 depicts the 2016 fabless company share of IC sales by company headquarters location. As shown, at 53%, the U.S. companies held the dominant share of fabless IC sales last year, although this share was down from 69% in 2010 (due in part to the acquisition of U.S.-based Broadcom by Singapore-based Avago). Although Avago, now called Broadcom Limited after its merger with fabless IC supplier Broadcom became official on February 1, 2016, has fabrication facilities that produce III-V discrete devices, it does not possess its own IC fabrication facilities and is considered by IC Insights to be a fabless IC supplier.

February 2017

Beyond silicon - the search for new semiconductors

Our modern world is based on semiconductors. In addition to your computer, cellphones and digital cameras, semiconductors are a critical component of a growing number of devices. Think of the high-efficiency LED lights you are putting in your house, along with everything with a lit display or control circuit: cars, refrigerators, ovens, coffee makers and more. You would be hard-pressed to find a modern device that uses electricity that does not have semiconductor circuits in it. While most people have heard of silicon and Silicon Valley, they do not realize that this is just one example of a whole class of materials. But the workhorse silicon – used in all manner of computers and electronic gadgets – has its technical limits, particularly as engineers look to use electronic devices for producing or processing light. The search for new semiconductors is on. Where will these materials innovations come from?

September 2016

August 2016