1.Basic Policy of Research and Development Activity
The challenge of our research and development division is to provide noble metal plating technologies required for surface mounting on cutting-edge devices in electronics industry.
To respond the rapid globalization of customers using noble metal plating, JPC requires to promote research and development both soft and materials technologies. JPC’s basic policy on the research and development is nurturing the materials technology for the next generation over a long-term view, while responding to the globalization by utilizing the soft technology.
The soft technology is a technology to propose the optimum total process for customers by examining the conditions of our existing plating chemicals and the combinations of pre- and post-treatment processes. Customers utilize various electronic devices and various facilities. Considering these conditions, our soft technology is required to provide customer satisfying solutions in a short time by fitting customer’s facilities with our existing products.
On the other hand, the materials technology is the task of developing new chemicals to solve problems that cannot be responded with existing chemicals. The developed new chemicals are utilized in electronic devices and applied to a series of tests to evaluate as electronics equipment (finished products) after mounting processes, and then certified as new products. Long-term planning is required for developing new chemicals because the evaluation sometimes takes several years from development to commercialization stages.
Especially for the products that cannot solve problems without containing novel chemical compounds, environmental testing for the compounds must be also performed and long-term research and development are inevitable. These processes take as essential situations for becoming a global fine chemical company.
2.Main Challenge on Research and Development Activity
Since its foundation, JPC has been providing noble metal plating chemicals for electronics industry as the main target. In recent years, gold saving specifications which are reducing the amount of gold used are spreading by decreasing the gold concentration in plating solutions and thinning gold coatings. It becomes our main challenge to meet these specifications while maintaining the properties of plating coatings. In addition, in order to compensate for lower sales volume of noble plating chemicals by the gold saving, JPC is also tackled challenges to spread the noble metal plating technologies accumulated so far toward industries other than electronics industry and to apply to plating technologies other than noble metals.
When dealing with these challenges by the soft and materials technologies, only conventional technologies and experiences (Know-How) are insufficient and the consideration by clarifying chemical reaction mechanism (Know-Why) is necessary. The most important thing in Know-Why is to connect the molecular structure of plating solution components and the properties of plating coatings based on chemical principles and rules. JPC is working on the following challenges from the viewpoint of Know-Why.
①Respond to Environmental Problems
- Plating technology corresponding to hazardous substances regulations
- Plating technology as an alternative to solder plating
②Respond to Noble Devices
- Plating technology capable to wire bonding
- Plating technology with nano-scale thickness
③Respond to New Fields
- Expansion of plating technology to fields other than electronic devices
3.Results of Research and Development
Our results of research and development in the 47th term are as follows.
①Line Evaluation of EPIG Plating
Alternative to ENEPIG plating, direct EPIG process without using nickel plating is expected as a process expanding high-frequency response of RF modules. As JPC obtained good results of the EPIG process in market tests, new EPIG lines are established at customers and practical operation is expected during the 48th term.
②Hardening of Pure Gold Plating
As the images of liquid crystal and organic EL become higher definition, the demand has come out to raise the hardness of small diameter bumps. The pure gold plating solution with increased hardness of the bumps was developed while maintaining the condition that the gold purity is 99.9% or more, and the solution is currently being evaluated by customers. Stable joint strength is also required and the demand for bump hardness is gradually increasing.