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Design and Manufacturing Process Tradeoffs Considerations for the Creation pf Printed Electronics and Sensors for Medical Applications
Keywords: printed sensors and electronics, manufacturing processes, medical applications
International Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging Society (IMAPS) Medical Workshop San Diego, CA January 22/23, 2019 ABSTRACT TITLE: Design and Manufacturing Process Tradeoff Considerations for the Creation of Printed Electronics and Sensors for Medical Applications AUTHORS: Jaye Tyler, President/CEO Si-Cal; Roger H. Grace, President, Roger Grace Associates In recent years, there has been an exponential growth in the field of flexible, printed, stretchable, weaveable and organic large-area electronics and sensors. These new electronics and sensors are fabricated on flexible plastic substrates as well as on/in fabrics, which offer advantages including mechanical flexibility, large area format capability, complex shape conformity, light-weight, low-profile and especially low- cost of manufacture. These new substrates/carrier platforms upon which these devices are realized vis-à-vis a continuation and evolution from earlier platforms of discrete and following that, Silicon, from which integrated circuit and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are constructed.[1] The judicious use of these recently introduced substrates/carrier platforms enables low-cost and high-throughput manufacturing of devices over large areas using printing technologies in either a batch-fed (discrete) or a Roll-to-Roll (continuous) production line. The need for printed/flexible/stretchable and functional fabric sensors and electronics is being fueled by several high-volume applications including wearables, IoT, disposables and especially e-Health. Janusz Bryzek, in his Trillion Sensors Initiative has emphatically opined that the industry must move to lower cost sensors to be able to achieve this goal of manufacturing a trillion sensors per year [2]. It is a widely accepted fact that the cost of plastic or paper-based sensors can be two orders of magnitude less expensive on a cost- per- area than that of Silicon [3]. This alone is a significant factor in printed electronics and sensor adoption. Additionally, their inherent ability to flex, and possibly stretch, is critical in many applications that cannot use non-flexible / “rigid” parts. e.g. MEMS, which are typically manufactured using Silicon wafers. This is especially relevant to applications where these electronics and/or sensors are applied to the human body. Medical/eHealth applications have, and continue to provide, a major opportunity for products manufactured from these approaches. Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) awarded $75M to FlexTech Alliance to establish and manage a San Jose-based facility to create a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE MII). Additionally, the recent award of $75M, also by the US DoD, with $250M in matching grants from regional governments, industry and academia for the creation of a research and development consortia, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), headed by MIT for the development of sensors and other electronic functions has validated the potential of this technology to create “smart fabrics” for consumer and military wearable applications. These two major programs validate the importance and critical nature of these technologies in military as well as commercial applications. The major challenge in the commercialization of printed electronics and sensors is to overcome the current “adolescence” of the technology and to facilitate the collaboration of the various participants in the design and manufacturing process presented above. This is a natural evolution to achieving maturity. This is especially true in the early stages of the design and development process. The presentation will address the multi-element and complex design and manufacturing process functionalities associated with the creation of printed sensors and sensor-based systems. These include: ink and substrate selection and printing processes to be used. In addition, we will address the critical role that “conversion”, a printing industry term, plays in the creation of these medical devices. Conversion functionalities include cutting of the sheet materials, lamination of the various layer, providing connectivity and interconnects and most importantly, integration of the printed devices into robust and flexible packages with the appropriate interconnects and test strategy considerations…and in other words…packaging, assembly and test considerations. To be addressed will be an overview of the various printing processes available to manufacture these devices including sheet-fed (batch mode) and roll-to-roll (continuous) including a critical tradeoff analysis of these processes. Also, the presentation will provide the inherent advantages of deploying design for manufacturing and test (DfM&T) strategies in the early design phase of these products that bring all of these process functionalities into a coherent process approach. Several case studies addressing medical applications and the complexities in their design, development and manufacturing will be presented including an EKG Device, Oxygen sensor and blood stimulation device. References
Jaye Tyler, President/CEO
Si-Cal Technologies
Westborough, MA
USA


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