Conard's Photo Etching Blog

Photo Etching's role in the booming semiconductor market

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Dec 4, 2014 10:07:00 AM
Kathleen Stillman
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microstructures for semiconductors
Photo Etching has the ability to create complex, precision parts, which will be a boon to semiconductor manufacturers as the Internet of Things gains a bigger foothold in consumer markets.

Today's consumer market is witnessing the advent of "smart" products - devices connected to one another over wireless networks, exchanging data between manufacturers and the owners of the products themselves. Common household items are now being manufactured with the capability to join an interconnected network that enables an unprecedented level of communication and data gathering. This trend is colloquially known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Smart TVs, automobiles, kitchen appliances, thermostats - all of these and more are poised to replace their unconnected predecessors. A report by the research agency Gartner predicted that 26 billion consumer devices will be taken under the IoT fold by 2020.

Semiconductor market slated to grow thanks to IoT
Not only will IoT-connected devices will make a big splash in the consumer goods market, they will also have a major impact on the electronic semiconductor market as well. Government Technology looked at research from Gartner and found that the total size of the semiconductor market is set to grow 30 percent from now until 2020.

"The demand for billions of things will ripple throughout the entire value chain, from software and services to semiconductor devices," said Alfonso Velosa, research director at Gartner. "These 'things' will drive huge demand for individual chips. IoT semiconductor growth will come from industries spanning consumer, industrial, medical, automotive and others."

The hallmark of these products is their ability to communicate through wireless networks. These "things" must be equipped with communication devices without hampering the basic functionality of the product. It's no surprise, then, that manufacturers want the electronics to be as small as possible without sacrificing output.

digital technologies rely on photo etchingSmart Watches are just one part of the Internet of Things trend that rely on small but powerful semiconductors for its wireless communication capabilities.

Photo Etching has a role to play
Component parts created by Photo Etching are a staple in manufacturing for the RF, Microwave and wireless industries, all of which will be integral in the burgeoning IoT.

Semiconductors, leadframes and other components in these products often have complex geometries that make them difficult, if not complete impractical to manufacture with other methods such as stamping, laser cutting, etc. This makes Photo Etching a top choice, as it is known for being able to create complicated parts at a low cost and in a short time.

Another reason why Photo Etching is well-suited for this type of complex production is that we can work with thin-gauge metals and hold tolerances within .001" in sheets with a thickness of .005" and under. Additionally, the process produces no burrs or thermal distortions in the finished product.

In terms of materials, copper alloys like brass and beryllium copper are two metals frequently used in making component parts for wireless applications. We are well versed in working with these and other metals, having honed the etching process for this type of work over the last 49 years we've been in business.

If you're an OEM in the semiconductor space, call us at 800-443-5218 or email us at sales@conardcorp.com and we can get started working on your designs!

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