In-House TAB Bonding, At Your Service
Posted On February 22 2018
Levison Enterprises' in-house TAB (Tape Automated Bonding) solutions keep your circuits and your costs small. Almost as soon as the first personal computers arrived, there was a push for them to be smaller. In 70 years we've seen computers the size of a room scale down to something you absent-mindedly wear on your wrist.
As recently as the mid-1980s, a cellular phone required so much equipment that it came in its own bag, complete with a transceiver, battery, handset and hang-up cup. Now some of us take calls through our watches.
No, it's not James Bond. It's actually TAB Bond.
What is TAB?
Tape Automated Bonding, commonly known as TAB, is the process of taking a flexible polymer tape and mounting a printed circuit board to it. In a nutshell, TAB is a manufacturing process that has helped technology like computers and phones get smaller and smaller.
What does TAB do?
In a TAB process, small bumps or balls of gold or solder are mounted to a board and then to fine conductors embedded in the polymer tape.
This creates the connection between the board and the package, or to external circuits. To connect the bumps/balls with their appropriate leads on the TAB circuit, holes are punched on the tape where the bumps are to be positioned. The tape is then joined over the punched holes to meet the bumps on the board.
What About Wire Bonding?
Wire bonding also contributes to circuitry needed for small technology. Wire bonding can be used in all types of integrated circuits and semiconductors, using a combination of heat, pressure, and energy. It avoids the need for high levels of heat because it is typically used with soft types of fine diameter wires (usually copper, though gold, silver and aluminum are also used).
Without the need for extremely high heat, wire bonding is compatible with lower temperature projects, like plastics.
Where TAB Wins
While both TAB and wire bonding can be used to create small printed circuit board projects, TAB has an advantage when it comes to circuits that need to be able to withstand motion. Think printers, microwaves and automotive parts. TAB can be more flexible because of a few key characteristics.
- It uses small bond pads and smaller circuit sizes.
- The bond pads can be placed anywhere on the printed circuit board. (Wire bonding connects around the edges of a board.)
- Smaller pads and more places to put them increases the number of in/out options on a given circuit board.
- Smaller pads also means TAB reduces the amount of gold needed for bonding, saving costs.
- TAB limits variations in bonding geometry, reducing room for error.
- It has a short production cycle time, has good electrical performance and can be done through multi-chip module manufacturing.
All of this boils down to the key advantage with TAB, which is the ability to create a physically flexible circuit. TAB is not without its disadvantages, chiefly that it can be an expensive endeavor.
There is time and cost in developing a custom tape pattern for each circuit board and TAB manufacturing equipment makes it cost-prohibitive for some. Fortunately, it does become cost-effective in high-volume production where the cost of developing the tape is maximized.
The cost also can come down when you don't have to own the equipment yourself.
Enter the In-House TAB Bonder
This specialized piece of equipment offers several key advantages. The primary advantage is in its ability to mass-terminate flex circuits to their circuit boards, thus decreasing overall costs. Using this piece of equipment, the need for a connector is eliminated.
Not only does this eliminate the cost of the connector, but it saves the space that the connector would have otherwise occupied on the board. This makes an in-house TAB Bonder especially appealing for designs that have a small footprint. As technology drives devices smaller and smaller, an in-house TAB Bonder delivers you the ability to compete against cost and time.
Your super skinny television, FitBit, and cell phone are extremely grateful for this, as is the slick new technology you're designing for the future.
The Levison Enterprises In-House TAB Bonder
Levison Enterprises is proud to offer TAB in-house to meet your electronic assembly needs, no matter how big or small.
We are an all-in-one ECM so after we create your circuit boards, we can also complete the rest of your assembly, from design to shipping directly to your client. Levison Enterprises is a small to medium sized build ECM, with a focus on quality. Let's talk about how we can put our quality to work for you.
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