Journal of SMT Article

AUTOMATED PACKAGING OF MEMS DEVICES

Author: Joseph S. Bell
Company: Palomar Technologies, Inc.
Date Published: 4/1/2003   Volume: 16-2

Abstract: Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have exploded to the forefront of many commercial products in the last decade. New uses are being found every day for these chip-level devices in the automotive, space-based, biomedical, defense, and many other industries. As they become more widely used in the future, demand for MEMS will undoubtedly require high-volume, high-yield packaging solutions; automation is the answer.

In the recent past, low-volume and high-complexity have made process automation a low priority for MEMS device packagers. Consequently, many MEMS device manufacturers never take automation into consideration when designing their components.

As demand for these products grow, the need for full automation becomes necessary; up-front design for automation will ensure future savings in redesign costs. Designing MEMS devices for automation means ensuring they possess the precise physical features and tight manufacturing tolerances needed for an automated assembly process. Generally the automated assembly cell can place parts only to the accuracy allowed by the quality of the components it is placing. For example, in the telecommunications industry where optical MEMS devices are used in switching arrays, the MEMS must be placed with a high degree of accuracy, on the order of five microns in the X, Y and Z axes, and .2 milliradians in Theta axis. This and other similar applications require the components to be of the highest quality.

In anticipation of the market's growing demand for MEMS products, clearly, a high-volume, high-yield manufacturing solution is the answer - design for automation. MEMS component designers must do the work in designing their MEMS devices for volume production. The process, as discussed, requires care and due diligence. The value brought to the customer in lowered costs and to the manufacturer in increased throughput and yields translates to success all around.

Key words: MEMS, automation, packaging.



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