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SMT & Inspection | February 28, 2005

Universal Instruments' research investment tops $10 million

Universal Instruments' SMT Laboratory has committed over $10 million in research grants and stipends, as well as mentoring research projects and providing access to equipment and facilities.
The investment has accrued over 14 years, during which the SMT Lab has supported leading-edge research into second level packaging technologies and sponsored the activities of the Area Array Consortium (AAC). The AAC has historically consisted of up to 32 large member companies which support the SMT Laboratory research.

According to George Westby, director of the SMT Laboratory at Universal Instruments, successful research depends on two important ingredients. “It requires long term commitment of funds and resources, as well as attentive guidance to each project and the program as a whole to ensure relevance and continuity,” he said. “By acknowledging both of these aspects, we have provided valuable support to MS and PhD students, and maximized value for our customers, who benefit directly from the research findings. We have also enhanced the body of knowledge existing within our organization, as ground-breaking research matures to become common practice.”

Many researchers funded by the SMT Laboratory have become university professors or influential industry figures. Several former students now occupy key research, sales, and marketing roles in leading semiconductor and equipment companies world-wide. “Recently, one of our students was awarded the 2002 Charles Hutchins SMTA Presidential Award for Outstanding Student Research,” added Westby. “This demonstrates the value of being closely involved with each student project, and shows that our program is well regarded by industrial and academic experts.”

The AAC is closely linked and directed by the SMT Laboratory at Universal’s Binghamton headquarters. It also benefits from regular contact with the new Universal Instruments Technical Centre in Suzhou, China, to create a world-class research facility capable of solving cutting edge assembly challenges.

The SMT Lab’s history of formal investment in MS and PhD research spans several generations of surface mount packaging technology, including all chip scale and flip chip technologies. “At the beginning of each new packaging generation there is a lot to discover, which demands skill to direct the quantity and focus of research projects toward the dominant issues at each stage,” commented Westby. “I believe we have made a significant contribution over the last fourteen years, helping assembly technology mature to the point it has reached today.”

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