As you can imagine, the world of electronics packaging has evolved tremendously over the last thirty years. From the primitive, large-scale mainframe computers of the early 80s to the sleek and exponentially more powerful smartphones of today, the technology has become smaller, faster, smarter and more efficient. And with such dramatic advances in the capabilities, properties, and technologies of electronic devices, there comes a similar shift in what is required of the packaging.
The electronics available three decades ago were, as expected, more fragile, valuable, and costly than what were used to today; thus, they required packaging that offered the greatest amount of protection, first and foremost. However, as the function and capability of the electronics developed, so did the resiliency, durability, and quality of the electronics. Less expensive and more rugged electronics called for packaging that still offered the necessary protection, but also provided other important qualities in ensuring the safety, quality, and performance of the electronics. For our team of certified packaging engineers here at UFP Technologies, many of whom have been with the company for more than thirty years, there are a number of key considerations that they must keep in mind while designing packaging for the advanced electronics available today. Below are four of the biggest objectives our engineers must balance when designing innovative packaging for electronic devices:
1) Shock and Vibration
These are perhaps the two most primary concerns to keep in mind in the development of electronics packaging. Electronic products can be subjected to many different forms of vibration over a wide range of frequencies and acceleration levels. The vibration can be due to a number of sources, from an active association with a machine or a moving vehicle, to the transportation and handling the device endures from the manufacturer to the customer. Shock and vibration are considered to be undesirable as they can produce many different types of failures in electronic equipment. Our engineers are experts in creating innovative combinations of materials that offer unrivaled protection against shock and vibration, and can customize a packaging design to the unique requirements of a specific customer or application.
Electrostatic discharge refers to the sudden flow of electricity between two objects caused by contact or an electronic short. As such, it is important for the packaging of electronics to protect against ESD to prevent any potential malfunctions that may affect the performance of the equipment inside. We have access to a variety of specialty materials that are anti-static, conductive and static dissipative. We can recommend the proper combination of foam, plastic, film or specialty material to protect against ESD.
Oxidation caused by humidity can be extremely damaging. In some cases, it can even create an unwanted circuit which can seriously affect the proper functioning of the electronic product. It is imperative for packaging to withstand humidity at a range of different temperatures as well as protect against dampening, and very much damaging, moisture. We have an array of closed-cell foams, such as polyethylene and cross-linked polyethylene foams, that are both highly resistant to moisture and chemicals and combine excellent vibration dampening and insulation properties.
For many electronic products, it is critical to be both particulate-free as well as clean-free. A dust particulate can very easily short-circuit electronic equipment, resulting in irreversible and often costly damage. In order to ensure the cleanliness of the product, we have multiple clean rooms and controlled environment facilities available to manufacture sensitive electronic packaging systems.
Depending on the specific application, an electronic device may call for different types of protection, and it is our job to ensure that the necessary protection is provided. Our experienced engineers bring deep expertise in molded and fabricated foams, thermoformed plastics, and laminated composites of films and fabrics, and specialize in combining these materials based on your specific needs, offering unrivaled protection against shock, vibration, ESD, abrasion, moisture, thermal damage, and more.