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Universal Instruments Corp. Unveils New High-Speed Wafer Feeder

by Dr. Scott Miller, NextFlex Director of Technology

Universal Instruments Corp. (Universal) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion and acceptance of the company’s High-Speed Wafer Feeder (HSWF) destined for Binghamton University (BU) on April 5 at the company’s corporate headquarters in Conklin, NY. The ceremony included representatives from Universal and Binghamton University as well as myself, representing NextFlex.

(left) Ribbon Cutting for the High Speed Wafer Feeder on the manufacturing floor at the Universal Instruments Corp. headquarters in Conklin, NY. Left-to-right, Glenn Farris (Universal’s VP Marketing), Dr. Mark Poliks (BU Empire Innovation Professor of Engineering), Dr. Scott Miller (NextFlex Director of Technology), Dr. Jean-Luc Pelissier (Universal’s CEO); behind is the HSWF unit that will ship to BU in the coming weeks. (right) The HSWF in its installed configuration with a Universal FusionSC pick and place tool.

The first HSWF production unit has been delivered to our Technology Hub in San Jose, CA; this machine, the second production unit, will be installed in the Smart Electronics Manufacturing Laboratory (SEMLab), located in the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center at Binghamton University, part of the NextFlex NY Node. Units have been ordered by Universal’s customers in Semiconductor Packaging manufacturing. The HSWF integrates with Universal’s well-established FuzionSC pick-and-place tool to enable high-speed placement of thin semiconductor die onto a variety of substrate types including flex, printed circuit boards, and conventional and advanced package substrates. This is the first machine that can simultaneously house many wafers of different sizes and types and pick die from each within the same build, allowing high precision heterogeneous integration in one manufacturing tool.

This tool, which will benefit both Flexible Hybrid Electronics and the broader Semiconductor Advanced Packaging market, began its development through a Project Call funded by NextFlex with strong cost shared by Universal and New York State. The project included partnership with BU, GE Research, Lockheed Martin, and i3 Electronics (which was later acquired by TTM Technologies). Universal continued development after the original period of performance in partnership with BU and close coordination with NextFlex. This extension included an enhanced scope to further develop, transition to manufacturing, and deliver production units to both the NextFlex Technology Hub and BU, rather than the prototype machines that were originally scoped. Following the ribbon cutting, we discussed our continued partnership related to establishing manufacturing process flows based on the tool, as well as in other areas of FHE and semiconductor packaging technology and workforce development.

About Me

As the Director of Technology, I am responsible for the portfolio of Project Calls funded by NextFlex. I also run our Technical Council and Technical Working Groups, lead the development of FHE industry roadmapping, oversee initiatives within the Institute, and build and maintains relationships with government and industry partners. I am actively engaged with many of the Agency Driven Projects that NextFlex executes with partner organizations. I have a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University where I did research on large area electronics manufacturing based on printing processes. Prior to joining NextFlex, I led materials R&D groups at GE Global Research supporting a diverse range of businesses. I have worked in areas including printed, flexible, and hybrid electronics; wearable devices; additive manufacturing; and bioprinting and biofabrication.


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