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Posted on 01 December 2019

The Ecconowatt Line of Power Semiconductor Packaging

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Ceramic packages exclusively for Power Semiconductors

The driving forces in the semi-conductor market make it the correct time to market a low cost ceramic package to the power semi-conductor industry. CNS has patented a low cost ceramic package and has designed the equipment and process to enable customers to assemble and seal this package at a significantly lower cost than current plastic packaging processes while achieving the reliability of ceramic.

by R.J Satriano, R. Culbertson and D. Nicoletta, CNS Ceramix, Inc.

 

Ceramic Packaging was the enabling technology for the commercialization and growth of semi-conductor devices in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s. As the demand for semi-conductor products soared the semi-conductor industry searched for lower cost packaging concepts to migrate their higher volume products. Early in the development of semi-conductor technology and the packages required to protect them the industry typically cycled from 40 pin packages to 14 and 16 pin packages as they progressed from development to larger scale production achieved through higher yields and smaller die. Later the development of low cost ceramic Cer-Dip Packages provided a low cost alternative and later, the development and implementation of plastic molded packaging. Today literally tens of billions of chips are packaged in plastic each year.

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CNS has devised and patented a CERAMIC PACKAGING CONCEPT that provides the high reliability required for packaging space and military semi-conductor circuits and is cost competitive with plastic packaging systems. The Ecconowatt concept was born of a desire to provide a hermetic cost competitive header package designed to fit the footprint of the To 254 package. Recent discussions with potential customers have validated CNS’s opportunity to provide packages for space and military applications and for multi-chip-module spark systems for automotive cylinder control and spark systems. The opportunity for the Ecconowatt in automotive is cost and reliability. The Ecconowatt package provides excellent mechanical and hermetic protection to circuits that are increasingly sensitive to environmental factors under the hood as plastic packaging is called upon to encapsulate larger and more complex circuits. As always the future of packaging technology is dictated by future semiconductor chip technologies and as usual there are several trends divided by the needs of various major users of electronic devices. However, as new technologies are deployed or adopted, some trends cut across all market segments, these include gate sizes, wiring density, interconnect pitch in smaller areas, heat dissipation and mechanical attributes. The new generation of circuits is relying on multi-chip-module substrate technology utilizing larger semi-conductor devices with more circuit density. All of this is expected to require increased power for high clock rates at low voltages, which equates to very high currents. All of these driving forces is pushing plastic to and in some cases beyond the capability of plastic in the areas of thermal dissipation, hermeticity, mechanical reliability, and sensitivity to mechanical and environmental forces impacting electrical performance of the circuits.

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These and other market driving forces are opening the door again for a larger market share to be serviced by ceramic technology. CNS’s patented ceramic packaging technology is positioned to exploit these market trends particularly in the traditional transistor header markets for space and automotive. It is expected that within 5 years the Ecconowatt family of packages can achieve manufacturing volumes of tens of millions of packages per month or more. As the Ecconowatt family develops the expected reputation for cost, performance and reliability the major plastic users will begin to switch new products to the simple and elegant Ecconowatt packaging concept and the higher end packaging market will adopt the Ecconowatt packaging system as a cost effective alternative to higher cost ceramic and metal packaging technologies.

The Ecconowatt package provides unparalleled cost competitiveness to the existing plastic packaging process while providing the mechanical and environmental advantage of traditional ceramic packaging. CNS has designed all the required equipment for implementing the production of large volumes of Ecconowatt or related packages with an efficiency that improves upon the cost and performance of plastic packaging. The market timing is right for implementation of the Ecconowatt line of packages and its elegant, cost effective assembly system.

The Technical Aspects

The Ecconowatt family of packages achieves cost parity with plastic packages through the use of common materials and processes in a patented design. The combination of materials and manufacturing technique provides significant manufacturing cost reduction through the use of alumina and solution metal technologies. The internal geometrical design features ample space for multiple bond wires where necessary.

Low thermal resistance is achieved by including a brazed insert of Silicon Cemented Diamond (SCD) material on which the chip is mounted. SCD Material has a Thermal Conductivity of 580w/mk and a coefficient of thermal expansion of 1.30 ppm/k.

The Ecconowatt accommodates single chip devices as well as circuit devices requiring five leads.

The core forming technology is a proprietary re-forming technology developed and offered to CNS on an exclusive basis by a partnership of American Ceramic Technology, Inc./Ragan Labs, LLC. This technology enables the manufacture of simple and complex shapes at room temperature using low pressure re-flow technology. An added feature of this reforming technology is that it can be reformed in one or multiple steps without inducing density variations. Further the technology is offered in multiple ceramic compositions that can be tailored to a specific customer’s requirement, as needed.

CNS’s patented Ecconowatt package is not only a family of ceramic packages but an entire manufacturing system designed to provide the customer the ability to produce high reliability devices at plastic cost and as such it is unique. Additionally, the Ecconowatt can be designed as a single chip or multiple chip module depending on the customer’s intended application.

The Ecconowatt technology provides CNS the ability to capture new applications where plastic is not reliable and metal and ceramic packages expensive. The manufacturing and assembly technology will permit CNS to migrate from development to very high volume eliminating migration to alternative low cost technology such as plastic to satisfy the high volume cost requirements.

Strategy

The Ecconowatt is initially being targeted for space, automotive and other markets where the cost and reliability advantage of the Ecconowatt can be brought to bear. Current space applications are generally less cost sensitive than automotive. This market currently is serviced by metal and multilayer ceramic designs. These packages cost several dollars each and typically require individual bonding and assembly. Due to the low cost to manufacture the Ecconowatt, it can be positioned to benefit from the high price of the competitive packaging products.

Ecconowatt Product Attributes

Conclusion

CNS plans to continue to develop the Ecconowatt package technology in a partnership relationship with selected customers. CNS expects to limit exposure of the robustness and cost competitiveness of the Ecconowatt until it has been demonstrated successfully at strategic partners. CNS believes this patented package can become a standard in the power semi-conductor industry.

The Ecconowatt line of packages achieves cost advantage over plastic packaging through innovative processes and equipment developed by CNS for die bonding, wire bonding, testing, and sealing. This equipment is designed and ready to be built by Bob Satriano, the inventor of the Ecconowatt. Bob has developed and built plastic and other automated circuit assembly equipment and processes. Bob’s understanding of these processes for the packaging of header products enabled him to develop CNS’s simple but elegant process for the assembly of the Ecconowatt family of packages.

 

 

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