How the Occam Process Works
Put simply, the Occam Process fundamentally asks manufacturing to build electronic assemblies in reverse. Here are the steps:
- Tested and burned-in IC packages and various discrete components are bonded into place directly onto a carrier in predetermined locations.
- Components are encapsulated, to create a monolithic assembly. A cleaning/abrading step provides direct access to the contact of the components, likely copper. Alternatively, laser ablation may be applied to any material covering the leads.
- The assembly is metallized with copper; circuit patterns are created make the required interconnections between leads of all of the various components.
For multiple layers, the process can be repeated until all required interconnections are made.
- The final circuit layer is then coated with an insulator connected to any interfaces, displays, and power connections required for operation.
Advancing Beyond Solder
While the elimination of solder from the assembly process is not a new concept, previously proposed mechanisms for doing so (e.g., replacing with conductive adhesive) have been soundly rejected by the market, perhaps because of difficulties in operation or lack of reliability, or possibly due to the fact that solder has been the de facto standard for electronic assembly for decades.
But a close examination of electronic assembly technology reveals it to be both possible and practical compared to building far more complex and challenging multichip modules and IC packages using bare die. All materials, equipment and processes required to implement the process are currently readily available and operational. The starkest change to the assembly factory will be simply the importing of a mature process of additive board fabrication.