Embedding discrete components into a PCB

The embedding of components addresses all critical challenges of today’s electronic systems and, as such, is a highly attractive solution for OEMs. Embedding allows for further miniaturisation with improved thermal management and increased reliability.

Today’s challenges in electronics development

The majority of today’s electronics development for aviation, life sciences, or telecommunications is facing similar challenges when focusing on form-factor reduction or real-estate on PCB substrates: thermal management and consistently high-quality standards. Both challenges need to be mastered to avoid damage to electronics, decreased performance, or inferior end-user experience.

There is a vast array of existing and new approaches to address each challenge individually. Globally established solutions, such as HDI, mSAP, or metal substrates, help to meet specific requirements. Nevertheless, there is rarely one single solution that addresses all challenges at once, the only exception being the “embedding technology” for passive or active components.

What does “embedding technology” stand for?

Embedding technology comprises a multitude of well-industrialised forms ranging from common and established forms of “printing components” to the use of capacitive and resistive materials. As the name suggests, embedding allows the incorporation of passive and/or active components into the PCB substrate itself. These components are connected by copper-plating via microvias.

This not only reduces the number of components on surface layers but also offers very specific thermal management solutions by contacting the component body itself via microvias. Finally, the surrounding organic material protects the component body as well as the joint resulting in increased reliability of the entire module/package when compared to other connection methods like regular SMD or bonding.

The importance of choosing the right PCB manufacturing partner

The embedding of discrete components is well known in PCB manufacturing and has been applied in substrate manufacturing. Yet, not many PCB manufacturers master all required supply chain steps (e.g., component sourcing, handling, testing, etc.) and complexities. Varioprint is a global manufacturer capable of supporting complex embedding projects. For many years, Varioprint has provided modules with printed electronics as well as capacitive/resistive materials as an initial step towards embedding discretes. This has resulted in specialised know-how and established processes that Varioprint can leverage to successfully integrate passive and/or active components. Joining forces already in the design phase ensures that not only all requirements are met but also that a cost-competitive product is created.