Recent news has reported that there is a semiconductor supply shortage going on. What are they and where are they used? What does this situation have to do with powder presses, precision tooling, furnaces, and automation?
Semiconductors are electronic devices like integrated circuit (IC, microprocessors, etc..) chips, discreet electronic devices (relays, transistors, photoresistors, phototransistors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, etc..), and electronic packages. Electronic packages can have the preceding items in one device. Existing and new electronic products utilizing electronic packages are experiencing growth with the movement to networkable (both wired and wireless) products. Examples in the consumer marketplace are: mobile phones, game consoles, computers, tablets, household appliances, security cameras, automotive electronics, aerospace electronics, industrial electronics, medical electronics…the list goes on! These things are everywhere, from your car bumper to your earbuds to endangered species that carrying these around. The applications are widely expanding – and rapidly.
Semiconductors and related devices have predominantly been in the ceramics field for insulators and semi-conductive products. Metal powder applications are growing as we enter into advanced power generation/storage and the electric vehicles (EV). At the base of the needed products are the entry level devices: substrates and conductor feed through insulators. Some substrates are very small (like inkjet printer cartridges, hearing implants, etc..), but the feed throughs are even smaller (AKA glass beads) – as small as 0.3 mm (0.01 in). Those same items can also be large (sputtering targets and sodium batteries) – up to 305 mm (12 in) OD or 500 mm (19.7 in) long. Some applications require structural components like bearings, gears, brackets, housings, etc…
These all have two things in common, they start out as powder and must be compressed and sintered. The tiny components are being pressed with precise high-speed PTX Pentronix powder compaction presses. Whereas the larger components are pressed in Gasbarre and Simac powder compaction presses. Precise tooling by Gasbarre is utilized across the board to form the part. Some specialized items are “printed” via additive manufacturing (AM). The components pass into firing, co-firing, sintering, and/or brazing processes conducted in Gasbarre Furnaces. In high productivity applications, automation is key; some products must avoid handling to be competitive and have integral inspection when possible.
If you can imagine the growing world demand for electronic devices, you must be able to slightly grasp the future of powder compaction and sintering. It is big. Climb on board and join Gasbarre in this adventure!
Please give us a call if you would like to learn more about where we are going. Call (814.834.2200) or email ( [email protected] ) us today!