Celebrating our 11th consecutive year!
The 11th annual Fleck Connection Congress was held September 27-30,
1999, at the Marriott Camelback Inn resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The event was sponsored by Fleck Research and Global Connections,
divisions of Global Connector Research Group.
The conference—which included the Fleck Materials
Seminar and five interconnect industry workshops—was attended
by over 200 of the industry’s senior executives.
This issue of the Fleck Report summarizes seventeen of the pertinent
issues and topics addressed by the senior executives who were speakers
1999 FCC Speakers (Listed
in Presentation sequence)
This year’s distinguished group of industry executives was composed
of the following speakers, listed in order of presentation:
Summary of Seventeen Pertinent Issues and Topics
- Steven C. Church, president of Avnet Electronics Marketing for
“Globalization, Consolidation and Collaboration:
Electronics Distribution in the New Millennium.”
- Philippe Anglaret, chairman and president of FCI International
“FCI’s Position in Telecom.”
- Gregory C. Johnson, vice president of North America and Telecom
for Tyco Electronics
“The Interconnect Industry Response to Technology
- Mark C.J. Twaalfhoven, director of Asian operations for Amphenol
“Localization in China: How Change Creates Opportunity.”
- Fleck Research
“Preparing for the Turn of the Century: Interconnect
Industry Technology Trends, Market and Business Issues in the
Year 2000 and Beyond.”
- Matthew Sheerin, editor of Electronic Buyers’ News
“Forces of Change in the Electronics Supply Chain.”
- Richard E. Schneider, vice president and general manager of
the Connection Systems Division of Teradyne
“Technology Trends Impacting the Backplane Industry:
Challenges and Opportunities.”
- Christopher T. Di Minico, director of network systems technology
with Cable Design Technologies
“Connectivity for Next Generation Cabling and Gigabit
- Gary A. Anderson, general manager of Amphenol Aerospace
“Military Connector Trends.”
- Gerry D. Van der Sluys, partner of Business Creation
“Restructuring the Connector Industry: Analysis
- Lawrence M. Fullerton, chief technologist of Introit Systems
“RosettaNet: The Connector Taxonomy.”
- Dr. Thomas H. Di Stefano, founder of Decision Track, Tessera,
Chip Scale Review and Chip Scale International
“The Impact of Chip Scale Packaging on Interconnect
- Onye Uzoukwu, worldwide manager of connector and passive commodities
“Solectron Procurement: The Challenges Today and
in the Future.”
- John P. Powers, vice president of regional markets for Crown
- Dr. Rama Shukla, director of assembly technology development
for the Technology and Manufacturing Group of Intel
“Microprocessor Packaging Evolution and Challenges.”
- Calvin Joel Martin, member of the technical staff, fiber optic
apparatus, with Lucent Technologies
“The Great Copper and Fiber Debate: Is There a
- James J. Rathburn, founder and president of Gryphics
“Developing Packaging Trends Related to Next Generation
Only brief summaries of the seventeen pertinent issues and topics
presented by the industry executives at FCC’99 are presented below.
Speakers provided significant insight related to business, market,
product, manufacturing processes and technology. Remarks made during
respective speeches were in many cases “off the record”. As a result,
only attendees at FCC and FMS were exposed to this expanded data.
The seventeen pertinent issues and topics are summarized below
in the same sequence as the speakers on the program.
Avnet Prominent in Globalization Efforts
Avnet's Steve Church—who is responsible for the sales, marketing
and financial performance of Avnet's components business worldwide—noted
that his distribution company operates in 59 countries. "Suppliers
recognized the value of offshore markets and customers followed
suit," he stated. "Distributors went global to service multinational
Church declared that technology brings down the barriers of international
commerce and singled out the Internet as the principal factor. "The
Internet is not just another enabling technology," he said. "It
is a quantum leap."
Globalization comes with a price, he noted, citing the increased
competition that accompanies significant new market opportunities.
"Companies must leverage international partnerships," he said. "There
is an enormous financial and technical demand on distributors."
Church cited his company's recent acquisition of Marshall Industries
as "the largest merger in the history of electronics distribution."
He noted that Avnet now is the largest distributor in the Americas
and boasts global sales of $8.1 billion. The company, doing business
as Avnet EMEA, is number two in Europe.
With consolidation, Church declared, the "fewer, stronger" trend
continues. Fewer, stronger distributors are competing for the larger
global market, supplying more services at lower margins. He pointed
out that the top 10 distributors made up 80.7% of total North American
sales of $27.2 billion in 1998, with Avnet and Arrow Electronics
combining for over 45% of that market with the next three distributors—VEBA,
Pioneer-Standard and Future—holding a combined market share of 25%.
Avnet IMS is riding the wave of collaboration, Church said, with
industry-leading sales of $1.6 billion and a 45.46% CAGR growth
over five years. The rule of play in the distribution industry,
he declared, is "collaborate to dominate."
FCI and the Communications Market
Philippe Anglaret, who has headed FCI for the past two years, spent
most of his professional life with Alcatel, most recently as managing
director of the Project and Services Group and the Industrial Equipment
Group within Cegelec, an Alcatal subsidiary.
His present company is divided into two core business, energy and
interconnect, each supplying 50% of the firm’s revenues, which totaled
US$ 3.7 billion in 1998. FCI ranks second only to AMP among the
world’s top 10 connector manufacturers.
“FCI has grown by acquisitions,” Anglaret stated, pointing to the
company’s takeovers of Berg Electronics in 1998 and several European
companies over the past 10 years. The company now maintains a presence
in 58 countries, with manufacturing units in 23.
In communications, FCI is most active in the I/O connector and
PCB connector markets, deriving 45% and 30%, respectively of its
revenue from those areas. Some 40% of the company’s worldwide sales
are in the Americas and communications occupies 36% of FCI sales
by market segment.
“Telecom companies are buying their way into datacom,” Anglaret
said, noting that Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel,
Ericsson, Siemens, Marconi and Nokia all have acquired datacom operations
in recent years. Meanwhile, datacom companies—such as Cisco, 3Com,
Ascend and Cabletron—are completing their product portfolios through
Among the packaging trends in the interconnection market, Anglaret
stated, are higher packaging density, excellent signal integrity,
lower applied cost and lower costs of ownership. Demands by OEMs
from the interconnect suppliers are increasing, and include world-class
quality and reliability, a global presence, full product portfolio
and value-added capability.
FCI is the largest telecom provider with a global presence and
a leading integrated solution provider, he said, noting that the
trend to outsourcing will modify relationships between interconnect
suppliers and OEMs and that consolidation and convergence in the
industry will put emphasis on cost and time to market.
“New emphasis on supply chain management requires alliances and
partnerships among OEMs, interconnect suppliers and contract manufacturers,”
Anglaret declared, noting that value-added business will be a major
demand in the coming years, involving the different players of the
Technological Changes at Tyco Electronics (AMP)
Gregory Johnson from Tyco (AMP) spoke on the interconnect industry’s
response to technology drivers, noting that his company has been
active in anticipating the needs of the future and delivering expertise,
technology and hardware to make tomorrow’s advances work.
While acknowledging that “headlines in the interconnection world
seem to revolve around business developments (Tyco’s recent acquisitions
of AMP, Raychem, Elcon and Siemens), the enduring stories of excitement
and reward in our business continue to be the way the engineering
community provides innovative answers to the challenges facing our
“Our compatriots in the rest of the electronics industry have recognized
the importance of connection technology,” Johnson stated. “More
than ever before, we are devoting our attention to providing connections
that are precisely tuned for electrical performance within narrow
limits. We also are seeing optics move farther into the heart of
systems for signal transport in emerging optical and terabit networking
Johnson pointed out that speed and bandwidth continue to be the
performance drivers for these developments, with a constant eye
on the cost per gigabit of data transmitted. “Our customers’ need
for greater speed and volume of data transmission drives requirements
for electrical performance more than ever, throughout the electronic
system,” he declared.
“As interconnect experts, the value we provide is in helping customers
weigh and select the best medium or combination of media to provide
a cost-effective solution for each application,” he concluded.
Opportunities in China Increasing
Amphenol’s Mark Twaalfhoven, who is responsible for the nine Asian
operations of Amphenol and has led an aggressive expansion of the
company’s Asian operations, discussed the opportunities created
by changing policies and attitudes in mainland China.
“The economic reforms started by Premier Deng Xiaoping in 1978
paved the way for localization in China,” Twaalfhoven stated. He
noted that, since then, 14 Special Economic Zones have been created
to assist in the development of local industries.
China—a nation of 1.2 billion people with land size identical to
the United States—has strong foreign reserves of US $150 billion,
he declared. This makes the Communist country one of the fastest-growing
markets in the world.
“The wireless market,” Twaalfhoven said, “is the next target for
localization.” He noted that China invests US $4 billion a year
in wireless technology and there are no domestic suppliers. China
ranks as the number-three cellular market, after the United States
and Japan, with 40 million subscribers.
“China is using its market share for the exchange of technology,”
the Amphenol executive pointed out, noting that joint ventures in
China are needed to capture technology for the next generation.
Joint ventures are possible in four options—with a Chinese company
from the industry, with a Chinese silent partner, with a foreign
partner or as a wholly foreign-owned enterprise.
Fleck Forecasts Growth by Industry Leaders
Fleck Research, in their annual presentation on technology trends
and business issues, highlighted the Tyco acquisition of AMP as
the major development of the past year, along with Tyco’s just-announced
takeover of Siemens. He projected a growth in market share by the
combined companies to 14%, with estimated revenues of $4.5 billion
in 1999 and up to $8.3 billion by 2004, a share of 19%.
Among the top 10 manufactures, Fleck forecast AMP easily maintaining
its leadership, followed by FCI and Molex. The next four American
companies should decrease to two due to acquisitions, he noted,
while the next two Japanese companies may increase to four.
In the distribution segment, Fleck said, the giants in the industry—Avnet
and Arrow—will become even larger, accounting for 24.1% and 15.8%,
respectively, of the market by 2004. The next eight companies will
be reduced to four as a result of acquisitions, he predicted.
Fleck forecast contract electronics manufacturers’ shipments increasing
from $16 billion in the current year to $20.4 billion by 2004, with
their percentage of the total market soaring from the current 16.9%
to 38.9%. CEMs will experience the highest growth, 29.1%, over the
next five years, while distribution will advance by 8.1% and OEM
totals will be down 2.9%.
The total world output of connectors, cable assemblies, backplanes
and interconnect devices is seen growing from $36.5 billion in 1999
to $46.6 billion in 2004. China, which accounts for 17% of world
production, should boost this total to 31.5% in five years.
Meanwhile, China, which accounts for $6.3 billion in 1999, or 17%
of world production, will accelerate as a result of several factors.
First, the Taiwanese companies manufacturing within China, who currently
account for $1.8 billion will accelerate to $3.9 billion. Secondly,
the U.S., European and Japanese companies manufacturing in China
are already producing at a surprising $0.8 billion and are expected
to reach $2.2 billion in 2004. The balance is state-owned Chinese
The year 1999 was a busy one for mergers and acquisitions, Fleck
declared, citing 35 major deals announced in the first nine months.
Public connector companies are doing well, he noted, with Amphenol
(up 80 points), AMP (up 68), JPM (up 58), Thomas & Betts (up 36),
Molex (up 32) and Robinson-Nugent (up 28) posting
Turning to the international scene, Fleck announced that the upturn
finally has begun in Japan, with a 23.6% growth reported in 1999.
The Pacific Rim—paced by rebounds in South Korea and Malaysia—showed
a 14.8% advance, while North America’s outlook was mixed with a
growth of 3.9%.
“The Internet is changing how business is done,” Fleck said, noting
that IBM projects that the growing demand for electronic commerce
applications will add $266 billion to global expenditures for information
technology. “Unless your customers can conduct business (orders,
price quotes, technical parameters) on the Web, they will go elsewhere,”
Change in the Electronics Supply Chain
Providing a glimpse of the overall picture in the electronics industry
as guest speaker for the first day’s luncheon session was Matthew
Sheerin, editor in chief of Electronic Buyers’ News.
Following three tough years, from 1996 to 1998—marked by bloated
OEM inventories, supply outstripping demand, severe price erosion
and lower component sales and earnings across all sectors—the current
economic picture illustrates a solid foundation for growth, Sheerin
“There is strong demand in all sectors—PC and server markets, wireless
communications, networking communications and industrial/instrumentation,”
he observed. “Component orders and shipments have been on the rise,
with the chip businesses leading the charge.”
Regarding the overall economic picture, supplies are beginning
to tighten, Sheerin noted. “Suppliers are cautious in adding capacity,
prices are firming or stable in most component sectors and there
is an allocation or parts shortage in key areas.”
Sheerin detected a shift in the OEM business model, from the traditionally
vertically integrated OEMs of the 1960s through the 1980s to the
“virtual OEM” of the 1990s and into the next century, defined by
outsourced product management and refining of the business processes.
“Supply chain management in a global environment is fundamental
to winning in the marketplace,” he declared. “The supply chain management/procurement
function affects corporate performance at a fundamental level.”
Outsourcing, Sheerin pointed out, has caught on in a big way as
contract manufacturers like SCI, Solectron, Flextronics, Jabil and
others prove they can do a better job. Currently 56% of companies
now outsource services, a figure projected to increase to 63% over
the next two years.
Contract manufacturing, now a $100 billion industry, should approach
$180 billion by 2001, Sheerin predicted, with the top 10 CEMs dominating
the business and setting the trends. There will, however, still
be room for smaller, specialized CEMs, he noted.
Electronic commerce is becoming more commonplace, Sheerin said,
with 40% of U.S. manufacturers using the Internet to purchase work-related
Backplane Changes and Opportunities
Technology trends impacting the backplane industry were outlines
by Teradyne’s Richard Schneider, who manages a $280 million business
with key customers in rapidly expanding industries. Prior to becoming
a vice president and general manager, Schneider concentrated on
developing and implementing strategies to achieve significant growth
in high-performance connectors and backplane systems.
The world’s backplane market, Schneider stated, has been inching
upward in the 1990s, with the industry’s top three of 67 suppliers
accounting for 38% of that market. A continuing challenge has been
the need for speed and the drive to improve pricing and performance.
Driving this surge, he noted, has been the effect of the Internet,
which has grown from some 20 million users in 1995 to nearly 100
million today. Some 40% of the population over age 16 use the Web,
with IT and Internet industries contributing 29% of U.S. economic
growth in 1998.
“The Internet drives the need for more bandwidth,” Schneider stated,
adding that the rapid evolution of servers, networks and storage
has created new businesses with new technology requirements. “There
is a significant discontinuity in customers demand—products must
deliver more bandwidth with higher density, speed and fidelity.”
“The challenge in the backplane industry,” he noted, “is to optimize
the performance of the entire signal transmission path to meet customers’
increasing bandwidth needs. Higher speed and density will drive
tightly integrated system designs to optimize reliability and functionality
and suppliers will need to provide more value added during the design
phase. Simple continuity and power up tests will no longer be adequate.”
Connecting With the Next Generation
Cable Design Technologies’ Christopher Di Minico brought three
decades of experience in the telecommunications industry to his
FCC address on connectivity for next generation and gigabit networks.
He is recognized as an authority on the physical layer interconnections
for new and emerging technologies.
Di Minico pointed out that standardization of the media dependent
interface equipment connector enables plug-and-play interoperation
and auto-negotiation between multiple vendors’ equipment. The same
factors, minus auto-negotiation, hold true for cable connector standardization.
“Ever-increasing bandwidth remains an issue in both LAN and WAN
cabling applications,” he noted. This raises the questions: “Can
I use the installed cable?” and “What cable should I install?”
Current fiber bandwidth measurement standards specify an overfilled
launch, Di Minico said, adding that OFL does not sufficiently characterize
fiber bandwidth for a laser launch. The “expected” gigabit Ethernet
link lengths based on structured cabling standards were reduced
due to the behavior of laser operation on multimode fiber, he noted.
“Lacking a laser launch fiber bandwidth measurement standard,”
he pointed out, “some glass manufacturers are specifying applications
distances, i.e., data rate vs. distance.” Laser optimized multimode
fiber results in improved bandwidth for gigabit Ethernet distances
over structured cabling distances, he concluded.
Military Aerospace Connector Trends
Amphenol Aerospace’s Gary Anderson—who has played a key role in
growing the business into a dominant position in the military aerospace
market—doubles as chairman of Amphenol’s Strategic Advisory Council
for the Military Aerospace Market.
“The industry is undergoing its most significant change in the
last decade,” Anderson said, noting that the era has been marked
by consolidations and mergers, military systems becoming digital,
inventory management becoming more efficient and distributors shifting
toward becoming large-scale providers.
Currently, he pointed out, globalization and continued consolidation
has resulted in more mergers and acquisitions. An increase in electronic
content and complexity has resulted in the emerging of complex interfaces
in the power, digital, fiber optic and RF segments.
“New military and political threats will demand increased Department
of Defense spending and technology insertion,” Anderson predicted.
“More healthy shakedowns are on the way, and optics and high-speed
digital will proliferate.”
The Amphenol executive forecast increased globalization, with the
Asia-Pacific region evolving into a key growth market. “Connector
suppliers will become prime partners, as opposed to component suppliers,”
he stated, “more integrated system opportunities will emerge and
contract electronic manufacturers will grow—their market share nearly
tripling by 2003.
“Accelerating technology demands will drive the shift from components
to higher value-added,” Anderson concluded, stressing that “successful
connector manufacturers will be able to provide complex system solutions,
not just components. Growth will come from share absorption from
smaller, component-only providers, and through higher-value products.”
Restructuring the Connector Industry Overseas
The staggering cost of closing down electronics companies overseas
is being reversed by Business Creation, an organization formed to
convert factories of large corporations into independent entities
that develop, manufacture and sell new products for new markets.
The concept was detailed by Gerry Van der Sluys, a partner in BC
and a former CEO in the Huber+Suhner Connector Division.
“The total available connector production space worldwide is an
estimated 75 million square feet, only 60% of which is being utilized,”
Van der Sluys declared. “Of the utilized capacity, approximately
70% is located in high-labor-cost countries.
Causes of this situation, he noted, include globalization, logistic
improvements, mergers and acquisitions, standardization, outsourcing
and obsolete technologies and processes. “There is an urgent necessity
to rearrange and restructure production capacities because of increasing
price erosion and structural over-capacities,” he stated.
“At least 30 million square feet of production space in Western
countries will be redundant and will partly be replaced by capacity
in low-labor-cost countries,” Van der Sluys predicted. “If cold
closures would happen in all cases, the total budget for restructuring
would exceed US $6 billion.”
Alternatives to cold closure, he noted, are spinoff—including contract
manufacturing—and conversion into other business activities. Business
Creation facilitates the process by “offering an integral solution
for complex divestments of multinational companies.”
Since its inception in 1982, Van der Sluys said, Business Creation’s
efforts have resulted in over 30,000 jobs created, over 15 million
square feet redeveloped, over 10 activities acquired and over $800
million saved for BC clients. The company maintains a presence in
11 European countries, as well as the United States and Asia.
An Introduction to RosettaNet
The Internet is changing how business is done, and Introit’s Larry
Fullerton presented one of the industry’s newest services, RosettaNet,
as a method of storing information technology for the benefit of
its member companies.
“RosettaNet standards are being put in place,” Fullerton said,
“and include business-to-business IT data, purchasing and inventory
tracking and technical data exchange on products.” He noted that
connector manufacturers’ tools from Introit will be ready for purchase
in March, 2000.
The managing partners of RosettaNet include Cisco Systems, Compaq,
Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Siemens, Toshiba, Microsoft, Netscape,
Oracle, SAP, ABB, AMEX, GSA, Deutsch Financial, CompUSA, EDS, Insight,
Arrow Electronics, Marshall Industries, Avnet, MicroAge, GEC, pcOrder,
FedEx, UPS, Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Tech Pacific.
With RosettaNet, Fullerton declared, the member OEM will be able
to locate the product he requires by classification scheme, by manufacturer,
by part number, by core parameters, by application, by industry
specification, by style of connector, by pin pitch, by military
specification, by connector family names, by board mounting and
by wire attachment.
“Introit’s next generation CIS solution will shorten time to money
for the entire supply chain—connector manufacturers, VAPs, distributors,
material service providers and OEMs,” Fullerton concluded.
The Impact of Chip Scale Packaging
Dr. Thomas Di Stefano, an internationally recognized leader in
the fields of chip scale and wafer-level packaging, is the founder
of Decision Track, with the mission to provide technology for wafer-level
production of integrated circuits.
“Die wiring has hit an increasingly difficult problem of RC losses
at high frequency,” he stated. “Solutions such as copper wiring
on the wafer offers some relief, but a new paradigm is needed.”
Initial applications of chip scale packages were in miniature,
handheld electronics because of extreme size limitations, Di Stefano
noted. The Rambus RDRAM at 800 MHz is the first major application
driven by electrical performance.
“The growth of CSPs is being paced by the infrastructure, which
is limited primarily to memory applications,” he reported. “High-pin-count
CSPs are limited by the capability of PWBs to support the high density
wiring requirements. Flex materials needed for high-pin-count CSPs
are expensive and in limited supply, and the standardization of
processes, equipment and designs is taking time.”
Di Stefano stated that the wafer-level paradigm is driven by imperatives
that will shape the industry for the next several decades—among
them packaging cost, IC production logistics, system integration,
interconnect density, IC functionality and performance. New industries
will be created to serve the demand, such as manufacturing equipment
for wafer finishing, interconnect foundry services and high-density
“The wafer-level solution,” he concluded, “is incorporation of
high-performance copper wiring into the package at the wafer level
for critical wiring, including power, ground, clock and long critical
networks, to provide significant advantages.”
Challenges in Contract Manufacturing
Detailing the challenges facing the contract electronics manufacturer
was Solectron’s Onye Uzoukwu, who handles global sourcing and strategic
supply issues for Solectron. Uzoukwu is a native of Nigeria, with
over eight years of materials management experience in the electronics
Outsourcing, Uzoukwu noted, has become a growing industry, with
nearly $90 billion in revenue in 1998. That figure should virtually
double by 2001, he noted, when the figure is projected at $178 billion.
From a single manufacturing location—Milpitas, California, in 1991—Solectron
has become a global manufacturing presence, with facilities in North
and South America, Europe and Asia. Sales have skyrocketed from
$407 million in 1992 to nearly $8.4 billion currently.
Network equipment occupies the bulk, or 30%, of Solectron’s CEM
activity, Ozoukwu pointed out, with computers taking up 18% and
work stations and servers 14%. Another 13% comes in computer peripherals,
including tape drives, disk drives, modems, printers and dedicated
Solectron, he said, has grown by creating effective strategic partnerships,
taking OEMs’ focus and adding value. This is accomplished in three
shifts—global, partnership-level outsourcing; movement in the sourcing
leverage axis, and changes in the supply chain relationship map
by intersecting in the channel between the supplier and the OEM
The company’s pipeline qualities, Ozoukwu stressed, are “best of
breed” pricing, jointly developed demand creation strategies, “real
time:” pipeline forecast and inventory visibility, collaborative
technology road maps and e-commerce and Internet-based capabilities.
Consolidation of Telecommunications Providers
John Powers, who for a number of years was the marketing director
on wireless at Motorola, has joined Crown Castle International,
a leading provider of communications sites and wireless network
services, as well as an array of related infrastructure and network
support services to the wireless communications and radio and television
broadcasting industries in the United States and United Kingdom.
Opportunities created by the evolving wireless market comprised
Powers’ agenda, and he pointed out that the global demand for wireless
services is projected to skyrocket over the next five years, while
that of the United States remains relatively stagnant.
The growth in wireless technology has been driven, Powers noted,
by “one rate” plans, prepaid wireless services and extended coverage
areas. The PCS market share is ever increasing.
“A new paradigm shift, driven by the Internet, is approaching,”
he declared, with new open networks, new players and partners and
increased focus on integration. The U.S. demand for cellular sites,
now at approximately 70,000, is projected to grow to over 100,000
“The theory of better, faster, cheaper still applies,” Powers stated,
“and open interfaces of network elements create new potential. Service
providers must anticipate the customers’ needs from as many perspectives
Microprocessor Packaging Evolution & Challenge
Intel’s Dr. Rama Shukla has spent 20 years with the company, specializing
in the research and development of interconnect technologies both
for VLSI silicon and associated packaging/assembly technologies.
His contributions include the areas of silicon thin film interconnects/dielectrics,
MCM technology development, TAB/flip chip, wafer bumping and flip
chip packaging technologies utilizing high-density interconnect
substrates and associated assembly processes.
“The message of the mid-1990s,” Shukla declared, is “shift happens,”
referring to paradigm shift. The curve does not taper off, but just
gets steeper as we move into GHz CPU, 1, 2 and 3 GHz. The cost per
MIPs (million instructions per second) is going down, made possible
by silicon miniaturization and packaging trends, he noted.
The shift, Shukla explained, occurred from 1994 with laminated
PCBs and silicon being able to withstand non-hermetic environment.
This was the introduction of Organic Land Grid Array (Olga) packaging,
where an area array flip chip replaced wire bonds with direct attachment
to organic substrates. Thus, the performance of CPUs has gone up
continuously while the packaging cost has gone down.
“Olga” has been used in the Pentium III Class, with a substrate
of copper and a low dielectric for good signal integrity, he noted.
“Wire bonding is limited by pad pitch and DCA (direct chip attach)
solves much of this problem.”
In the late 1980s, it was MCM(D) which was on the rise, but it
failed because of its high cost, Shukla pointed out. And in the
‘90s, it’s fine line substrates with microvias, but these too lave
limitations. “In terms of power density, CPUs already are way above
that of a ‘glowing hot plate’ and heat removal has become a prime
concern,” he noted.
Shukla was quite pessimistic regarding U.S. printed circuit board
makers—especially compared to the Japanese who, he said, are three
to five years ahead in packaging substrates technology such as LCD
flat panel displays.
The Battle Between Copper and Fiber
Lucent’s Calvin Martin brought the ongoing debate between copper
and fiber optic technology in the communications industry. Martin
has been active in the development of optical and copper-based data
communications products for Lucent and serves as chief engineer
for the company’s Optical Apparatus Test and Application Laboratory.
Martin pointed out that fiber’s penetration is rapidly increasing,
terming fiber “the fastest-growing sector of the industry during
the past year.” Fiber’s penetration to the desktop may increase,
he said, adding that copper to the desk remains the economic winner
in satisfying all anticipated applications.
Standards for fiber optic technology have not yet been established,
he noted, but a study group was formed this year, and industry standards
are expected by 2002.
“Home networks have the greatest potential” in fiber optics, Martin
declared. He forecast that the current $.1 million expended today
in that field would increase to $14.4 million over the next three
Packaging Trends for Next-generation Interconnects
Winding up the FCC portion of the conference was Gryphics founder
and president James Rathburn, who has been involved in product development
of electronics industry products for a dozen years. His experience
involves the design, development and production aspects of a variety
of products serving the computer, communications and semiconductor
“Conventional connector technology falls short of performance requirements
for future systems,” Rathburn declared. “A system-level approach
to connector design is required. Advancements in semiconductor technology
and packaging will greatly impact the connectors of the future.”
Rathburn pointed out that current system-level packaging trends
include higher performance and smaller footprints. Cost, he maintained,
is the main overall driving force. IC packaging trends include faster
devices, high pin counts and clean power requirements.
“Connectors,” he said, “are being pushed to the limit of today’s
design with the introduction of multi-row edge card connectors,
additional ground and shielding pins and stretching of the Socket
7 connector platform. Inductance, due to long pins and vias, is
crucial to signal performance.”
The connector of the future, Rathburn predicted, will require low
inductance, low profile and low cost, and must be reliable and easy
“Connector companies need to look at the entire system, from chip
to consumer,” Rathburn declared. “OEMs need to make suppliers feel
comfortable developing new technologies. The inside of most electronics
will look much different than today, and a new connector set will