08 July 2021
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Automatic wire bonders speed up transceiver production

Inseto has supplied two Kulicke & Soffa RAPID Pro automatic wire bonders to designer and manufacturer of advanced RF communication solutions Filtronic.

The two bonders are said to be high-speed and deliver high levels of repeatability, provided through real-time monitoring and diagnostics, and are helping Filtronic meet a six-fold increase in demand for its Orpheus E-band transceiver modules, used for 5G and other high data rate wireless applications, following an order from a major customer in the telecoms sector.

The RAPID Pros enable fast switch over, giving Filtronic the flexibility to also manufacture two Transmit Receive Modules for phased array radars for the aerospace and defence markets on the same production line.

Richard Smith, product engineering manager of Filtronic, comments: “All three of our main lines are hybrid assemblies, with multiple MMICs and other components that require high precision wire bonding. The RAPID Pro bonders help us solve two major manufacturing challenges. The first being that, at these high frequencies, bond wire lengths and shapes affect the EM characteristics. Being able to precisely program the bond shape and maintain it within and between batches of a given product ensure consistent RF performance. Accuracy and repeatability are musts. The second challenge is maintaining throughput and increasing capacity. Since bringing in the K&S bonders we’ve seen a massive improvement in speed, largely down to the modern vision systems, and it takes about a minute to process a module with hundreds of bonds.

Bond quality has also improved because Filtronic has far better control over bond parameters than before. Smith concludes: “Automated bond adhesion quality is consistently higher, thus reducing the need for manual intervention. Combined with fast automated bonding, this results in an overall much higher production rate than before, and we anticipate a return on investment in about three years.”

Inseto is exclusive distributor for Kulicke and Soffa’s range of ultrasonic bonding equipment & materials in the UK, Ireland and Nordic regions.

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