Coupling & Crosstalk: Products or Services?

products-services-canstockphoto10272610-300x300Coupling & Crosstalk is my column in the MEPTEC Report. This column appears in the Spring 2015 edition on pages 10-11.

Electronic coupling is the transfer of energy from one circuit or medium to another. Sometimes it is intentional and sometimes not (crosstalk). I hope that this column, by mixing technology and general observations, is thought provoking and “couples” with your thinking. Most of the time I will stick to technology but occasional crosstalk diversions may deliver a message closer to home.

Products or Services?

Paper or Plastic?” A simple grocery store inquiry? Think again: this decision has many layers of complexity as does the examination of products versus services. There have been endless discussions as to the benefits and downsides of paper, versus plastic, bags. Everything from environmental concerns, to reusability, to biodegradability, and much more has been deliberated. Just when we thought that the paper bag had Continue reading “Coupling & Crosstalk: Products or Services?”

Semiconductor Packaging: 2.5D, 3D, and Beyond!

MEPTEC's 2.5D, 3D and Beyond Packaging Conference

The MEPTEC2.5D, 3D and Beyond – Bringing 3D Integration to Packaging Mainstream” conference was a mixed-bag. Yes, it is always exciting to hear about new suppliers and progress. But it is disconcerting to realize that the price of progress is an ongoing burden on our industry’s supply chain.

Subramanian Iyer (IBM) and Theresa Sze (Oracle) started with Continue reading “Semiconductor Packaging: 2.5D, 3D, and Beyond!”

How to re-FORM or refill a fab

Fill 'er Up To Make Money

I usually try to ignore items that are unattributed, however a recent blog posting in the ElectroIQ blog “How To Fix FORM” caught my attention. It is true that FormFactor’s current difficulties are being discussed widely. However, the simplistic analysis and suggestions of this unknown “industry insider” need a reality check. The writer gets some of the overall problems right but may be missing the boat on the solutions.

Here are the supposed anonymous industry insider’s suggested fixes:

Continue reading “How to re-FORM or refill a fab”

Beware the Cost of Complexity

Early in my career in Hewlett-Packard manufacturing, we did a study that showed that the greater the configuration options we put on a single product the higher the cost to produce every other product in the same factory. Known as “Cost of Complexity” this has been found in many different industries with examples from software coding, to network support to food production. Not to mention in our own products, companies, and everyday lives.

Continue reading “Beware the Cost of Complexity”

FIFO, LIFO or Fido? What to do first.

Which way to go?
When overwhelmed by production, “Test” or “Quality Control” must learn to think globally rather than just functionally. Historically most companies always test first-in, first-out (FIFO) but should be prepared to abandon that practice when facing a backlog. An analogy is a navigator letting the pilot know they are off course right now versus discussing history from three hundred miles ago and working their way up to the present.

Recently a colleague was concerned that his company’s test capacity was insufficient to test all their output in a timely manner. (They manufacture integrated circuits with several hundred devices on each wafer produced.) In fact, the backlog of parts to be tested was approaching six weeks since additional test cells were not ready. After he explained the multitude of reasons why the additional test cells were not ready and that production could not be slowed to match the available test capacity, I asked how they were handling the backlog. He appeared perplexed by my question and wanted to know why it wasn’t obvious that they would simply test them in FIFO order as they had always done.
Continue reading “FIFO, LIFO or Fido? What to do first.”

IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium – Session 5 – Nano-Processes


Here are the highlights from Session 5 – Nano-Processes from day two of the IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council 6th Annual Symposium“Nanotechnology: State of the Art & Applications”

Note: I will post the the link for the slides once it becomes available.

Dr. Hans Stork, VP and CTO Applied Materials, “Nanotechnology in Semiconductor Industry.

IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium – Session 4 – Nano Materials

Here are the highlights from Session 4 – Nano Materials from day two of the IEEE San Francisco Bay Area Nanotechnology Council 6th Annual Symposium“Nanotechnology: State of the Art & Applications”

Presentation archive for talks not linked below. Updated as the council receives the presentations.

Eric Granstrom, General Manager and V.P. of R&D, Cima NanoTech – “Self Aligning Nano Technology for Electronics.”

  • First product Self Aligning Nano Technology for Transparent Electronics (SANTE) is transparent conductive film produced by self aligning silver nanoparticles.
  • For the same transparency, it has 1/10 the resistance of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO).  Also doesn’t yellow shift the color.
  • Based upon current consumption, it is projected that there is only a 7 year supply of ITO.  China controls 80% of this supply.
  • Largest initial market is displays which have one or more (LCDs have two) conductive films.
  • Continue reading “IEEE Nanotechnology Symposium – Session 4 – Nano Materials”