Paul Chase, Chief Technology Officer
Next-generation IC packaging has emerged that allows for cost, size, performance, and power optimizations to satisfy the needs of multiple markets. There is an increasing interest in high performance low-cost copper lead frame-based packaging in order to meet the demand for higher speed and performance. Colorado Microcircuits specializes in highly automated contract assembly of RF and microwave semiconductors in the US, providing volume manufacturing ranging from thousands to millions. “Our niche is innovative air cavity packaging, and we have become a key assembly partner for many of the industry leaders in the RF and microwave market,” states Hal Chase, president of Colorado Microcircuits.
Colorado Microcircuits (CMI) offers assembly of single die and multi-die components using several off-the-shelf or custom packages including ceramic, pre-molded air cavity lead frame, over-molded lead frame, and high-performance laminates. The company provides assembly options such as mixed assembly of IC’s and surface mount components, high thermal conductivity epoxies, short/tuned/stacked wires, flip chip and stacked die to improve the performance of its customers’ products. If a customer requires a custom package, CMI offers a turnkey solution, sourcing the customer-designed package. As a customer focused firm, Colorado Microcircuits is nimble in its approach and adapts to its customers’ needs.
“We have several examples where we responded to a customer’s unique requirements by establishing a new process in a matter of weeks,” states Paul Chase, chief technology officer at Colorado Microcircuits. The company maintains close communication with its clients and encourages collaboration with engineering and management. “Our strength is staying close to our customers, and we have leveraged that by responding quickly and efficiently to their needs,” adds Chase. This customer focus also provides the customer with short production lead times, typically two-week delivery ARO.
Geographically, Colorado Microcircuits has a crucial advantage as it is located a few hours from any US customer. The company can also be a source for clients needing an on-shore partner capable of commercial volumes and competitive pricing. Clients frequently approach Colorado Microcircuits with new products requiring an unusual combination of packaging. The company identifies its customers’ needs and proposes a cost-effective solution. For instance, one customer needed an air cavity laminate package that used a mixture of dozens of surface mount components and IC chips, with more than a hundred wire bonds. The client had tried several companies for the surface mount assembly, but due to persistent surface contamination following solder reflow, there was inadequate wire bond adhesion. This resulted in yield losses as high as forty percent. Even though surface mount technology was not a part of Colorado Microcircuits’ business model, the company brought that process in-house and developed a proprietary cleaning process to achieve greater than 99% yield. Within six weeks, Colorado Microcircuits purchased and installed the equipment, established process controls, and began volume production for the client.
Leveraging its experience of over 28 years, Colorado Microcircuits provides value to its customers through the performance and reliability of assembled products and an unmatched level of customer communication. Since its inception, the firm has been ISO 9001 compliant. The company has a spacious custom-built facility, and utilizes industry-standard automated semiconductor assembly equipment and proprietary air cavity sealing processes. Colorado Microcircuits maintains a separate facility with backup equipment to mitigate risk of production interruptions. “We are a very high-quality manufacturer with a high level of automation,” adds Chase. CMI recently added GGI flip chip and ribbon bond capabilities to support higher frequencies across their spectrum of package options. Additionally, CMI’s robust mixed assembly process enables the flexibility and performance to meet our customers’ future needs. As a high volume on shore supplier, CMI can mitigate Geo-political supply chain risks. With trade wars and blacklisting causing supply chain interruptions, CMI is positioned to provide a stable alternative supplier.