Brian Schmalz, NAMICS, Talks About the Future of Electronics Materials

Since we launched the program in January, the 3D InCites Community has already grown to 29 members. I visited with a few of them in person at IMAPS DPC to learn more about them, get updates on their activities in the advanced packaging space, and blog about them. I kicked it off with a blog about 5G, in which I included an interview with Tim Going, of StratEdge.

My original plan was to visit with as many as I could at events throughout 2020 and use the interviews as a basis for a community member spotlight series. Then the coronavirus had to go and mess things up. We can’t be sure which 2020 events will take place live, which will become virtual, and which will be postponed until 2021. So… change in plans. Instead of face-to-face meetings, over the next few months, I’ll be reaching out to each member to interview them for this Community Member Social Distancing Spotlight Series. We’re starting with Brian Schmalz, National Sales Manager, Namics, who I did get to meet face to face at IMAPS DPC.

Always a fixture at IMAPS events, I have to admit I didn’t know much about the company recently. Schmalz was more than happy to oblige.

Nature, Art, Mutual Prosperity, Innovation, Creativity and Sensitivity

These words make up the philosophy of NAMICS, the first letters of each form its name. Kind of a cool idea, don’t you think? Concerned about creating a sustainable society, the company is purposeful about running in parallel to social change and technology innovation, creating products in response to new values of the times.

Headquartered in Japan, NAMICS offers a broad portfolio of insulating and conductive materials to the electronics market. Advanced packaging only makes up 30-40% of their revenue. They also provide solar paste to the solar panel manufacturing market, and adhesives for camera modules, among other things.

In the advanced packaging space, explained Schmalz, the materials offerings include encapsulants, underfill, and conductive epoxies. Schmalz said fan-out wafer-level packaging is also a big market for them. The company provides a dielectric film used in between substrates, and a liquid mold material for overmolding processes.

Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap

NAMICS is actively involved in the Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap.

“The hot words for the last six or seven years were 3D and 2.5D. Now it is wafer-level packaging,” said Schmalz. “The ramp is happening in 3D, but 3D applications are still expensive.” He sees it reserved for high-performance computing (HPC) servers and autonomous vehicles. Mobile applications will be served by system-in-package solutions.

Changes in Materials

Tighter pitches and smaller packages mean greater challenges which translate to more technical demands for advanced packaging materials. Schmalz says the volumes of materials hasn’t changed. “Until the Internet of Things or autonomous markets take off and we really start integrating, nothing is really changing. The mobile device market is going to happen, but we’re just not there yet,” he said.

NAMICS Stretchable Printed Electronics

When Schmalz thinks about the future, he says he sees opportunity in-mold electronics’ technology and stretchable, printed electronics. Take automobile dashboards, for example. Instead of multiple switches, we’re already seeing one display panel with in-mold electronics behind it. This is one application NAMICS is targeting with its latest generations of stretchable conductive inks and pastes.

Schmalz says the company is looking for a “cool application” for its wearable, stretchable materials. “Jackets that heat up in the snow, for example,” he said. “Or workout pants that tell you how many calories you’ve burned. There are lots of possibilities.”

So there you have it – if you have a cool application looking for the right materials partner, check out NAMICS here.

Francoise von Trapp

They call me the “Queen of 3D” because I have been following the course of…

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