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Has microelectronic MCM technology matured and is it capable of servicing the widespread needs of down well 225degC operating applications in the Oil & Gas industry?
Keywords: Ultra High Temperature, Microelectronic Modules, Down Hole Electronics
Multi-Chip Electronic Modules (MCMs) or Hybrid Microcircuits have been at the core of API Technologies electronic product range offering for over 40 years. These generic electronic hardware solutions embrace a multitude of package styles and technologies to satisfy a very broad range of circuit functions within system applications. They have a global pedigree with reliability, density and performance as well as an established presence in harsh environments and system critical applications in Aerospace, Space and Defence applications. It comes as no surprise that these technologies are now being embraced and adopted, albeit cautiously, for the current and next generation Oil and Gas, down well systems including ‘Measurement While Drilling’ and ‘Wireline’ requirements and offering new opportunities in geothermal and deeper wells. This technically and commercially demanding industry is adopting a new generation of electronic solutions for sensing, data collection and analysis, to enhance system operation through electro-mechanical control of motors, actuators and valves. Fundamentally the traditional methods are at the heart of the new ultra high operating temperature packaging technologies, so it is very much an evolutionary approach that is generally being followed, relying on proven technologies and methods and embracing the industry experiences gained over the past 4 decades. Importantly MCM product development is engineering based throughout the full cycle with close engagement with the original circuit designer so that optimisation can occur at all stages of the design. This theme is an essential ingredient for success with cooperation between electronics, mechanics and material science engineers and technologists all applying their collective skills and experience. This paper reviews development and qualification work performed on 225degC operating temperature modules based on ceramic thick film multi-layer substrates supporting embedded thick film resistors, assembled passive and active components with ‘chip and wire’ connections and sealing in hermetic metal and ceramic cavity packages. It considers aspects of development and importantly investigates product qualification which includes shock and vibration at elevated temperatures as well as thermal shock and temperature cycling. In conclusion there is an attempt to answer the question “Has microelectronic MCM technology matured and is it capable of servicing the widespread needs of down well 225 oC operating applications in the Oil and Gas industry?”
Bob Hunt, Head of Technology & Strategic Business Development
API Technologies Corp
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
United Kingdom

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