IBM launches production of lead-free packaging technology
Following through on plans the company first announced in 2004, IBM Corp. on Thursday announced that it has begun production on its totally lead-free "controlled collapse chip connection new process" (C4NP) semiconductor packaging technology.
The company claims that the technology now has a yield of 99.7 percent at IBM's East Fishkill, New York, semiconductor factory.
According to IBM, C4NP combines the best attributes of the most popular currently available bumping options -- the fine pitch capability of plating and the lower costs of screening -- and offers economical advantages in relation to traditional bumping processes, such as solder waste reduction, use of bulk alloys, quicker time-to-market for products and a much lower chemical usage rate.
In September 2004, Germany-based tool vendor SUSS MicroTec AG and IBM signed an agreement to develop and commercialize C4NP. Under the terms of that deal, SUSS MicroTec agreed to develop a complete line of 300-mm and 200-mm equipment to enable commercialization of C4NP, while IBM said it would offer on-site process training to customers who purchase commercial systems from SUSS MicroTec.
The need for future lead-free products has become most apparent within the past year, as the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive came into effect in July 2006. The EU's RoHS bans or limits the amount of six hazardous substances, one of which is lead, allowed in electronics. China's version of RoHS has also labeled lead as a hazardous material.