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Chip Packaging for Wearables - Choosing the Lowest Cost Package
Keywords: Cost, IC Packaging, Wafer Level packaging
While all electronic product designers face packaging challenges, packaging for the wearables market is particularly difficult. Packaging for the mobile market went through a period of intense miniaturization in the 1990s and early 2000s for both area and thickness. However, with today's large screens there is more area for IC packaging. There continues to be pressure for thinner packages, but the package area can be relatively large. Packaging for wearables must be small in all dimensions and it must stand up to a tough environment. Nobody expects a cell phone to continue to work after it is run through a washer and dryer. But wearable electronics in clothing must survive multiple wash and dry cycles. And it must be low cost for the consumer wearables market. The optimal packaging choice is the lowest cost technology that meets the product requirements. Up until now, there has not been a dominant packaging technology for wearables. Everything from QFN to multi-die fan-out WLP is being used for wearable technology. While size, durability, and cost are always important, the balance of these requirements differs - resulting in many different optimum packages. In this paper, we will analyze the cost drivers, strengths, and weaknesses of each of the following technologies as they apply to the wearables market. * QFN - Low cost, but limited in size and IO count * Wire Bond PBGA - Low cost proven technology, but not the smallest package * Flip Chip PBGA - Well suited for CSP, but cost is not as low as QFN and wire bond PBGA * WLP - Smallest option, but limited in IO count and die size * Fan-out WLP - Small packaging option, but limited die size and more expensive than other options * Flex - chip on flex and rigid flex - Well suited for technology that must be flexible, but not the lowest cost Cost comparisons across a range of package sizes will be included in this paper.
Chet Palesko, President
SavanSys Solutions LLC
Austin, TX

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