Making the Switch from Printed Circuit Boards to Multi-Chip Modules for Deep Well Drilling: Frequently Asked Questions

by Jaymie Murray 2. September 2015 09:50

Traditionally the Oil & Gas industry used Printed Circuit Board (PCB) technology for down well, high-temperature electronics. As demands for higher reliability, longer life and durability in high temperatures in deep well drilling increases, it has been proven that conventional PCBs are no longer a viable solution.  Consequently, the industry is now embracing bare die in multi-chip module solutions (MCMs) in order to fully satisfy these requirements. However, some customers are weary of making the switch to a hybrid solution after relying on PCBs for so long and they often have concerns regarding costs, flexibility, and customisation. Here are a few questions customers frequently ask while contemplating transitioning to a hybrid solution.

Q: How do you justify the cost of switching to hybrids?

A: The transition to hybrid technology is often not driven by cost consideration. There are many reasons for adoption of hybrids:

  • Improved reliability
  • Improved performance – electrical and thermal
  • Significant size reduction
  • Ability to withstand harsh environments, including mechanical shock and vibration, temperature extremes and rapid temperature transitions
  • Improved electrical screening
  • Extended in-service life reduces total life cost

Q: What are the typical lead-times?

A:  There is normally a 20 week design cycle followed by 6 weeks for manufacture.

Q: Can MCM’s be reworked?

A: Rework processes are certified, qualified, and embrace a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • De-lid of module with subsequent hermetic re-lid after repair, and with usual fine and gross leak testing to verify the integrity of the seal
  • Semiconductor die removal and replacement
  • Passive component (resistors, capacitors and inductors) removal and replacement
  • Wire bond replacement
  • Thick film track repair with wire bonds or adhesives
  • Module can be re-sealed and re-tested

Q: How do you hybridise an existing PCB for high temperature operation?

A: There are several steps involved with customising an existing PCB in order to make it suitable for extremely high temperatures:

  • Supply the current BOM & Schematic: API will check bare die availability by taking the list of active components and checking with the OEM manufacturers if the part is available in bare die form required for C&W. API will provide feedback alternatives where necessary and work with you to fill any gaps in the circuit.
  • Define your environmental specification:  These specifications can include storage / operating temperature, shock & vibration requirements. API will check qualification data and confirm we have the required proven packaging techniques for your application, giving you confidence in the robustness of our packaging solution.
  • Define the space envelope: API will then perform an analysis based on your circuit to ensure we can physically fit the electronics in the space provided.
  • Define the package and I/O requirements: How will we mount the electronics in your tool? API designs custom mechanical package concepts that can remove the need for carrier PCBs not suitable for high temperatures.  I/O density is challenging in high temperature applications as often it can only be realised on the smaller of two sides of the package wall. API will review your I/O requirements and limitations and confirm if achievable. 
  • Convert the passives: Solderable termination / low temperature surface mount parts will need changing for high temperature and adhesive attach suitable for incorporation in a hybrid. API can print high temperature thick film resistors and recommend manufacturers with proven reliability.
  • Define your qualification plan: With no industry standards in place, how do you know what is best? API has an independent UKAS test house with experience in high temperature qualification plans, and we are able to review your environmental specifications and assist in defining a qualification plan.

Learn more about API’s high temperature hybrids and electronics at Offshore Europe 2015 at Stand 5B60 or visit http://micro.apitech.com/high-temperature-electronics to request a quote or contact us.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: Show Preview

by Jaymie Murray 1. September 2015 08:56

API Technologies will be exhibiting at this year’s SPE Offshore Europe, held in Aberdeen, UK 8-11 September. Here's a preview of API's high temperature products and solutions for oil and gas applicatons on display at stand 5B60. 

•Suitable for continuous operation at Ultra High Temperature (225°C) and under severe mechanical shock and vibration •Designed for maximum reliability in the harshest environments •Hermetically-sealed•Multi layered designs using thick film conductors, dielectrics, resistors with cover glaze are oven fired in the range 500°C - 950°C •Considerable size reduction and high density circuit packaging compared to printed circuit boards (PCBs) •Advanced attach methods for large footprint ceramic capacitors reduce soldering within the package and provide temperature rating up to 300°C•UKAS accredited test facility has invested in high temperature ovens and devised qualification procedures for internal qualification of materials and processes •Tests cover a range of materials, component types and attach methods with adhesives, solders and welds •Proven CQC processes include shock, vibration and long-term storage •Complete hybrid shock and vibration testing at elevated temperatures

Learn more about API's high temperature electronics by visiting Stand 5B60 at Offshore Europe 2015, request a quote, or contact us.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: API's Multi-Chip Module Solutions

by Jaymie Murray 31. August 2015 16:09

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: High Temperature Team

by Jaymie Murray 31. August 2015 14:20

API Technologies has a dedicated high temperature team of engineers and scientists with extensive experience and expertise in CAD layout design, analogue, digital and RF electronics, circuit partitioning and multi-chip module packaging.

Learn more about API's high temperature electronics by visiting Stand 5B60 at Offshore Europe 2015, request a quote, or contact us.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: High Temperature Products

by Jaymie Murray 31. August 2015 11:59

API Technologies' high-reliability ceramic multi-chip modules are capable of operating at temperatures up to 225°C, making them perfectly suited for the harsh conditions of the Energy and Oil & Gas industries.

Learn more about API's high temperature electronics by visiting Stand 5B60 at Offshore Europe 2015, request a quote, or contact us.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: Oil & Gas Heritage

by Jaymie Murray 31. August 2015 09:05

API Technologies will be exhibiting at Offshore Europe 2015, the UK's largest E&P event, 8-11 September in Aberdeen, UK. All this week, the blog will be exploring the scope of API's oil and gas experience and capabilities, and the high-reliability products and solutions we offer for high temperature applications. Learn more about API's high temperature electronics by visiting Stand 5B60 at Offshore Europe 2015, request a quote, or contact us.

API Technologies has over 70 years experience supplying microelectronics to the aerospace and defence industry, with established processes and capabilities for dealing with harsh environments including high temperature.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

Federal Civilian Agencies’ Next Security Vulnerability

by Tara Condon 24. August 2015 09:19

By Tara Condon & Henry Gold

Recent data breaches at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Office of Personnel Management re-focused the technology community on security challenges facing U.S. government and federal civilian agencies. Many of these groups provide critical services that impact the everyday lives of Americans, including the Social Security Administration, Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Postal Service. As such, a security incident’s impact would be pervasive.

One of the reasons why the security landscape is cumbersome to manage is the increasing number of network-connected devices. Today’s peripherals are now smart devices. All of these access points offer new avenues to access sensitive information. Specifically, printers and copiers offer a new point of vulnerability.

Security Risks of MFDs: 

Standalone printers and, later, combination printer/copiers, were largely output devices. A command was entered; the function was executed. The main security risk - leaving sensitive items on the printer tray – was mitigated by physical security. Many users were issued individual printers that were kept in locked offices. 

Document scanning changed the game. Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) were born.  What was once a peripheral was now an intelligent system with document memory and consistent access to the network. Also, with this additional functionality came a (justifiably) higher price tag. This meant that printer / copier / scanners became shared resources, typically kept in public areas, where personnel and visitors have unfettered access. 

Enabling PIV Card Authentication:

In recognition of the vulnerability of these access points, government regulations now require PIV card authentication (sometimes referred to as CAC – Common Access Card – access) on all network connected devices. Today, federal civilian agencies are struggling with how to meet this requirement. 

A number of major printer manufacturers now offer built-in PIV authentication on new devices. There is also a printer agnostic solution offered by API Technologies, called the Netgard®, that may be used on both new and existing MFDs and printers, including wide format printers.

Photo of Netgard® MFD courtesy of API Technologies

 

Regardless of which solution you choose for PIV authentication, here are two key features you should be aware of that enable you to comply with government security best practices:

  • Scan to Home: What this means is that the person doing the scanning may only place the document in a designated folder on the network. The person may then retrieve that document from the designated network location and use it for his/her intended purpose.  This feature ensures no confidential or sensitive materials can be sent in an uncontrolled fashion – for example: sending a scanned document to a personal email address via the printer.

  • Secure Print Release: MFDs are often stationed in easily accessible parts of the office. This means that sensitive printed material may sit out in the open for some time before an employee has the opportunity to retrieve it. When the Secure Print Release feature is enabled, the employee would walk to the printer and scan her PIV card. Then documents would be printed (“released”) when she is standing there to retrieve them. This security measure also has the added benefit of saving paper and toner, which saves operating cost. 

Protecting the information assets of federal civilian agencies is of vital importance. Securing access to network entry points is key to thwarting security threats. When reviewing their security best practices, federal civilian agencies are encouraged to remember that peripherals – such as MFDs – present vulnerability. PIV and/or CAC card enablement is necessary to secure these network entry points. The good news is that there are a number of government compliant, commercially available solutions to meet the need. 

 

About the Authors:

Tara Flynn Condon (@api_taracondon) is a published writer and Vice President of API Technologies Corp.

Henry Gold is a security expert and frequent panelist on security-related issues. He is General Manager of SSIA North America for API Technologies Corp.

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Secure Systems & Information Assurance

API Technologies & European Microwave Week 2015: A Preview

by Jaymie Murray 17. August 2015 09:07

API will be exhibiting at this year’s European Microwave Week, held in Paris, France September 8-10. Here's a preview of API's RF & Microwave products and solutions on display at stand #152. We'll see you in Paris!

 

For more info on any of these products, Contact an Engineer or Request a Quote.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

8 Advantages of API Technologies' EMI Filter Arrays

by Jaymie Murray 10. July 2015 10:32

The elimination of EMI/RFI interference is essential to successful EMC performance in an electronic system. For systems operating at frequencies above 50 MHz, shielding alone often cannot shunt unwanted harmonics, conducted or radiated, on power/control lines that run through compartments of an electronic enclosure. EMI filtered arrays that incorporate filter plates that facilitate entering or exiting sensitive compartments in an assembly are excellent methods to bring electronic interdependent functions/systems into compliance.

Filter plates allow a means of interfacing voltage and/or data to distant areas of a system without compromising its performance. Filter plates provide several advantages, including excellent isolation from 5 MHz to 18 GHz and beyond, reduced labor involved for installation, and reduced risk of damaging filter elements during installation. Connecting to these filter plates is easily accomplished through several methods, including ribbon style connectors, harnesses, hard wiring or directly soldering leads at a 90° angle to the printed circuit board.

Learn more about API Technologies' range of Filter Plates, contact us, or request a quote.

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Electromagnetic Integrated Solutions (EIS) | Infographics

SAW vs. BAW: How the Delay Line Technologies Stack Up

by Jaymie Murray 8. June 2015 08:11

SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) and BAW (Bulk Acoustic Wave) technologies are widely used in a variety of applications, including filters, oscillators, transformers, and delay lines. SAW and BAW delay lines in particular offer several advantages over other signal wave technologies and are used in a variety of applications, from Electronic Warfare (EW) target generation to communications systems for television and video. While they are used in somewhat similar applications, SAW and BAW technologies are each unique and have distinctive characteristics. Factors such as required signal delay, frequency, footprint, and cost all must be considered when choosing the best delay line solution for a project. 

Both SAW and BAW devices exploit the piezoelectric effect of certain substrate materials such as quartz and lanthanum gallium silicate by using interdigital transducers (IDTs) to convert acoustic waves to electrical signals and vice versa. Delay lines that utilize SAW and BAW are designed to introduce a calculated delay into the transmission of a wave signal. This signal delay could be needed for a variety of reasons. For example, in weather Doppler systems, weather radars emit pulses which track the movement and location of objects such as hailstones and raindrops. BAW delay lines are used to control the timing of these pulses. SAW delay lines provide required delays to synchronize data in communications systems such as television broadcasting. 

In each of these examples, one technology is the best choice over another because of their respective characteristics. SAW delay lines are usually smaller and lighter than BAW delay lines, which gives them a smaller footprint and therefore can make them less expensive. SAW delay lines also typically offer a wide frequency range from 30 to 2000 MHz. However, SAW delay lines can only provide a fairly small delay range of 0.1 to 10 µsec. If a larger delay range is needed, then BAW delay lines, with a typical range of 0.15 to 3000 µsec, are the best option. This can translate into a larger footprint and raise costs somewhat, but the wider delay range allows for increased adaptability and flexibility.  BAW can also be safely used in a wider temperature range than devices that use SAW, making it a more appropriate choice for harsh or extreme conditions. 

While they are both equally reliable and can offer the delays needed for effective wave signal processing, SAW and BAW each have their own distinct advantages. Ultimately, the best delay line option will be the one that most closely meets important project requirements, such as footprint, frequency, cost, and delay time. 

Learn more about API's delay lines, contact us, or request a quote.

This post originally appeared in Wireless Design & Development

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Infographics | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

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