Indium on Voiding and Auto Electronics Test Standard


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Las Marias: Jonas, you mentioned automotive testing certification in South Korea regarding the voiding issue. Tell us more about it.

Sjoberg: Correct. There's a very comprehensive test that Kia and Hyundai are requiring, which is the MS-184. The actual one, I mean, the automotive standard simply looks at documentation and more from a company standpoint. The MS 184 testing is foreign product level. It's a lot of traditional solder paste testing like SIR and a few other tests that's being done. They also do thermal cycling and sheer test. To be able to sell to the Korean customers, first we need to know the different certification where testing is required. You have to go through the tests; otherwise you are not allowed to sample or sell material to an EMS or a factory running Kia and Hyundai. It's a very comprehensive test and a lot of other customers are starting to require it.

Las Marias: And Indium Corporation products support that?

Sjoberg: Yes. Typically, any materials that we’re aiming to sell in the automotive industry will automatically go through this testing. That’s why it’s very important for our technical support and sales people to ask the right questions of the customer, as this testing could take anywhere from three to six months. If we recommend a different material that hasn’t gone through the testing, it gives our competitor a window of opportunity to recommend a different material, resulting in a loss of business for our company. Again, it’s very important to know the right questions to ask of the customers.

Las Marias: Is this a new requirement or has it been around for a while?

Sjoberg: Kia and Hyundai have had it for quite some time, but it's starting to spread, especially when these companies move production to China. A lot of automotive EMS tests are starting to use this requirement.

Las Marias: Jonas, in which vertical markets are you seeing growth?

Sjoberg: Automotive is very big, of course. There’s going to be a big increase in the amount of electronics in cars; no question about it. That impacts both PCBA (traditional SMT) and semiconductor industries. Also, with the increased manufacturing of electric cars, there's going to be more components that must go in as well. Automotive is one of the key vertical markets.

Mobile and computing continue to be key drivers in this industry, as both use a lot of solder paste. There are a few companies out there that are trying to push low temperature products, but they have had some setbacks. Normally, the low temperature materials are using bismuth, which is a fragile alloy. From a mechanical stress point of view, that's a big challenge for the market today. So while there are a lot of companies publishing data on low temperature, most of them are struggling with thermal mechanical reliability.

Las Marias: Can you talk about some of the new technologies in the pipeline at Indium Corporation?

Sjoberg: Of course! We have a lot of developments in flux and paste. We are also promoting something called InFORM®, which is a product for the IGBT market, where they’re very sensitive to the bond line thickness. Our InFORMS use a technology where you can control your bond line thickness very tightly, which positively impacts thermal cycling.

Las Marias: Everyone seems to have had a good year last year. What do you think about the rest of this year?

Sjoberg: I think it's going to continue to be a good year. The market looks very positive. Even though we don't publish numbers, I can confidently say that product demand and sales are up.

Las Marias: Jonas, is there anything else you would like to discuss?

Sjoberg: Only that the key to success in this industry is really understanding what the customer needs and how to work with them as a partner. I think what you're seeing with some of the major companies today is that they don’t have their own manufacturing, so they really rely on their EMS partners and the material suppliers. You have to work as a team when it comes to the OEM, the EMS, and the material suppliers. That's the key. Ten years ago, it was much easier because everyone was doing their own manufacturing and maybe outsourced a little, but now, it's a different story.

Las Marias: Thank you very much, Jonas.

Sjoberg: Thanks a lot, Stephen. It’s been good talking to you.

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