Cutting of Microelectronic Components With AWJ
This is Part 1 of a two-part series on the subject of cutting microelectronic components with waterjets. Part 1 will review an article by Hashish* on the application of AWJ (Abrasive Water Jet) in this field. Another article on ASJ (Abrasive Suspension Jet) for the same purpose will be reviewed in Part 2.
Flash memory card for cellular phones is just one example among the family of microelectronic components that benefit from waterjet cutting. These cards are made on a strip typically 300x100 mm in size and less than 2 mm in thickness. They are then cut into individual cards of about 11x15 mm in size --- called “singulation”. Tight tolerance (±0.1 mm), smooth edge finish (£ 4 mm, no smearing, no chipping, no delamination, etc.), and high productivity (³ 2000/hour) are among the typical requirements of singulation.
Traditional methods of singulation include diamond saw, laser, or waterjet-guided laser. AWJ and ASJ are superior to these methods in their versatility of cutting different materials without introducing heat and mechanical distortion. Even though ASJ is capable of making faster and finer cuts, AWJ was chosen because it is a more matured and more reliable technology.
The actual process used a combination of AWJ and diamond saw. AWJ makes a partial singulation by cutting curved pattern in one dimension and then diamond saw finishes it by cutting parallel straight lines in the other dimension.
AWJ process parameters for singulation include an orifice of 0.075 mm (0.003”) in diameter, a mixing tube of 0.38 mm (0.015”) in diameter and 50-75 mm (» 2-3”) in length, water pressure of 379 Mpa (55 kpsi), 220 mesh garnet at 0.75 g/s (0.1 lb/min), and traverse speed of 45 mm/s (106 ipm). For piercing, pressure is reduced to 82 Mpa (12 kpsi) and garnet flow rate is increased to 1.13 g/s (0.15 lb/min). Some special setups for the nozzle are also used to improve the process reliability, including vacuum assist and periodically water flushing.
As a conclusion, singulation of flash memory cards with AWJ is a success.
* Hashish, Mohamed, “Abrasive Waterjet Cutting of Microelectronic Components,” Proceedings of the 2005 WJTA American Waterjet Conference, Houston, Texas, August 21-23, 2005, Paper 1A-2.
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