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Electronics fuels innovation - packaging makes it work

Connect, no. 130, May/June 2004, p.1

Electronics and sensors are fundamental to almost every aspect of today's modern life. Without them planes cannot fly, cars don't start, production plants will not operate, communication and entertainment systems cease to function. No sector is immune and nearly all are dependent on the growing influence of the silicon chip and its associated systems.

What is less well known is that to enable silicon devices to operate requires a complex and often overlooked technology loosely defined as packaging. This enables the transition from a delicate and environmentally sensitive device(such as a processor), with extremely fine geometric features (eg 90nm) to a product that can be handled and used in a conventional and cost effective manner.

Fig.1. Packaging turns a 10 x 10mm silicon processor and its associated devices into a printed circuit board for a lap top computer
Fig.1. Packaging turns a 10 x 10mm silicon processor and its associated devices into a printed circuit board for a lap top computer

The package provides a stable platform, protection (mechanical, environmental) and a method of connectivity (electrical, optical, mechanical, fluidic).

Its design and assembly technology fundamentally influences the device's performance, life and cost. So getting it right is crucial, not only the electronics and sensors sector but all product types from heavy engineering to consumer.

The importance of electronics and sensor assembly and packaging technology was recognised by TWI over 40 years ago, and continued development has resulted in a unique resource to help industry refine and develop its needs.

The focus of this resource is the Microtechnology Group, which has specific skills in applying and developing design, materials, joining and testing knowledge on a very fine scale for the electronics, sensor, opto electronic, MEMS and miniature component market.

Fig.2. Microtechnology cleanroom showing electronic and optics assembly equipment
Fig.2. Microtechnology cleanroom showing electronic and optics assembly equipment

Although many of the joining processes used are applied in a unique way, most are fundamentally scaled down versions of TWI's larger scale welding, brazing, soldering and adhesives bonding processes. This, where appropriate, enables the full range of TWI's activities and corporate knowledge to be applied to assemblies sometimes only a fraction of a millimetre in size, a unique capability with significant commercial benefits.

In 2004 TWI will be using this knowledge on a wide range of customer needs, in the electronics, opto, MEMs, sensor and medical fields.

For further information, please contact us.

For more information please email:


contactus@twi.co.uk