Indium Corporation is doing its part to safeguard operations, protect essential workers, and continue to supply essential markets during this COVID-19 crisis, including medical, fire suppression, emergency responders, and transportation states Tim Twining, Vice President of Marketing, Indium Corporation. Below in this exclusive interview, Tim also talks about their offerings, their strategies for the Indian market, and future plans.
TimesTech: Pivotal focus and offerings of Indium Corporation in the Indian market?
Tim Twining: We are seeing India becoming much more important in the electronics industry due to both domestic demand as well as increasing participation in global supply chains. As a result, we are investing more heavily in the region with local manufacturing and more technical support personnel along with developing local partners.
TimesTech: What has made Indium Corporation a popular thermal management offering company for electronic devices?
Tim Twining: Our assembly and thermal materials are used in many applications including power electronics and integrated circuits. Our InFORMS technology is a relatively new engineered solder product that provides consistent bondline thickness in power transistor packages. We also recently launched our QuickSinter silver sintering paste that is used for wide bandgap semiconductor applications. Our QuickSinter offering bonds quickly without the need to apply pressure during curing and has been designed to allow users to use existing production processes including dispensing or printing and a simple reflow. Finally, indium metal is one of the most effective thermal materials on the market, and, as our company name suggests, we are a leader in applications that require the highest thermal performance. Aside from our products, our world-class technical team regularly collaborates with and supports manufacturers with advice and troubleshooting throughout the design cycle and startup of new products.
TimesTech: A history about Indium Corporation and journey of Indium Corporation travelling across the innovation of electronics industry?
Tim Twining: Indium Corporation was founded in 1934 in Utica, N.Y., USA by Dr. William S. Murray—a man who dedicated his life to investigating and developing the uses of indium metal. Since those early days, the company has continued to lead and support the advancement of materials science and technologies on which we rely today, such as aerospace, automotive, medical, and telecommunications electronics.
TimesTech: How have the materials for the electronics and semiconductor assembly, thermal management, and thin-film markets evolved in the past five years, and how is Indium Corporation innovating in this space?
Tim Twining: As the industry continues to explore the possibilities of miniaturization with finer pitches and smaller components while requiring higher power density—more importance has been placed on product reliability than ever. At Indium Corporation, this means that our focus continues to be on delivering a complete package of high-performance materials with world-class technical support and knowledge.
When we develop new products to provide solutions to these evolving challenges—such as the critical importance of heat dissipation due to finer pitches and denser packages—we’re guided by our fundamental belief that materials science changes the world. This has led to the development of proven products including a new jetting paste (PicoShot), liquid metal thermal interface material (m2TIM), and a Type 6/7/8 (SiPaste 3.2HF) solder paste for system-in-package.
TimesTech: A bit about your extensive Solder Alloy Directory and how miniaturization and newer technologies bring scopes and challenges for Indium Corporation?
Tim Twining: Our published Solder Alloy Directory has more than 220 alloys that are used in a variety of assembly and thermal applications. Not only is the directory itself useful for engineers selecting materials, but we also have a series of online tools to help users choose the right materials for their applications. As electronic packages become smaller, our solder and thermal products are also becoming smaller! The best examples are heterogeneous integration assembly (HIA) and system-in-package (SiP) that use our solder paste with the most fine and precise solder powder available on the market. Also, we just launched our gold alloy, AuLTRA ThInFORMS, with a thickness of < 0.00035″ (0.00889mm) to minimize bondline thickness for the most demanding applications.
TimesTech: How large is your company’s footprint and further expansion plans?
Tim Twining: We currently have 10 production facilities located around the world, and we are very excited to have recently opened our first manufacturing facility in India, located in Chennai. We are in the process of ramping up production with tremendous support from our customer base in the region. We have more expansion plans already planned for the second half of 2020 and for 2021.
TimesTech: Indium Corporation’s contribution and innovation towards the ongoing pandemic?
Tim Twining: Indium Corporation is doing its part to safeguard operations, protect essential workers, and continue to supply essential markets during this COVID-19 crisis, including medical, fire suppression, emergency responders, and transportation. Indium Corporation was a leading author for a manufacturing pledge that outlines how to keep employees safe and factories running. So far, we’ve been able to meet all customer demand around the world with very little disruption.
TimesTech: Reason behind the shift from water-soluble to low-residue no-clean fluxes in flip-chip?
Tim Twining: Firstly, as miniaturization continues in semiconductor packaging, tighter pitch and bump/pillar height has made the cleaning process more challenging. Water by itself has difficulty penetrating gaps less than 50µm, unless a saponifier is added and/or water pressure is increased to aid cleaning efficiency. Higher cleaning pressure causes higher mechanical stress that may cause cracks in solder joints. Secondly, eliminating the water cleaning process by using ultra-low residue (ULR) fluxes, which is proven to be compatible with underfill materials, improves cost efficiency and reduces environmental impact.
TimesTech: Each component or package has differing requirements for reliability, utility, and assembly process. How does Indium Corporation’s expertise move with it?
Tim Twining: We have excellent relationships with our customers and we continue to advance our materials technology. There are almost always trade-offs in solutions, e.g., cost vs. reliability, assembly cost and ease vs. product performance, etc., and we help our customers make those decisions. We have a strong technical team near our customers and a strong development and engineering team at our sites to advance our technology. Almost all of our product development is driven by solving our customers’ challenges. We also partner with universities and labs around the world to develop our technologies and stay abreast of the latest technological trends in the industry.
TimesTech: Your expertise in the growing 5G, IoT space?
Tim Twining: It’s an exciting space and we are participating in most of the electronics assemblies used in these applications with our materials in one way or another. Solder paste and flux can influence radio frequency and reliability in these products, so our products become critical during both design and manufacturing. Our engineered solder materials can dramatically reduce voiding and make assembly more efficient.
TimesTech: Lately, how important is the Indian market for Indium Corporation compared to other parts of the world?
Tim Twining: As a percentage of our sales, India is relatively small today, but the growth rate of both our business and the electronics market in India is tremendous. We are also adding more technical support resources in addition to our new factory in Chennai. We see a bright future for India in the electronics supply chain globally going forward and we’re proud to be a part of it.