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A new coalition has been formed to share information on the packaging challenges facing electronics designers and manufacturers. The Coalition for the Advancement of MicroElectronic Systems Technology (CAMEST) plans to help members better understand the gaps in design, manufacturing, test, and reliability across all aspects of electronic component assembly and subsystem manufacturing from semiconductor to final assembly. This includes the intricacies of producing 2.5D and 3D packages.
The newly-formed group is an independent organization dedicated to fostering collaboration among the global electronics industry, academia, and government. It arose from the efforts of JISSO North America, which serves as a forum for members to share information. "JISSO International did great stuff, but nothing was ever published," said Dieter Bergman, IPC's technical programs ambassador. "Though several industry associations dropped out, many people remained interested in what JISSO was trying to do. Especially in North America, people started talking and came up with the idea of a total packaging solution coalition and thus CAMEST was formed." "After a series of teleconferences, members met at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego in February and in Las Vegas in May during IPC's Electronic System Technologies Conference. The founders defined their goals and wrote bylaws. Currently, there are four goals. We want to service as a central gathering and distribution group," said Denny Fritz, presently serving as CAMEST coordinator. "We also want to identify gaps in technology that have not been recognized. CAMEST will also expedite information transfers. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we want to foster cooperation between members and others." The initial information that the group gathers and disseminates will focus on the areas where silicon connects and communicates with the outside world, which includes many of the areas where IPC has a major presence. One area the coalition will focus on is 2.5D connections such as the interposers that fit between chips. 3D packaging will also be an area of high interest, with factors like silicon through vias (TSVs). "Right now, design rules don't exist for these technologies," Bergman said.
As CAMEST moves forward, another goal will be to fund its efforts. The group won't have major expenditures, but it is looking for corporate, association, or individual memberships that will pay for Web services, printing and other costs. "One of the problems with JISSO was that it had no money, everything was done by volunteers," Fritz said.
Though IPC will help CAMEST achieve its goals, the association is not the driving force behind these efforts. CAMEST founders want to maintain a degree of independence rather than being perceived as an IPC project. "IPC is not underwriting CAMEST. There will be a clear separation between IPC and CAMEST, though we are being as supportive as possible during the crucial initial days," says Marc Carter, IPC director of technology transfer. "We do plan to stay involved, because it provides an informal way for companies to look at short-term problems, but we'll be just one participant among many." Carter continued, "While CAMEST searches for funding, it plans to seek contributions from interested individuals that will go toward supporting maintenance of a website and pay for publishing documents. The funds will also cover the expense of holding annual meetings while providing a small stipend for an executive director."