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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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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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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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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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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