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Specialist IMAPS training workshop hosted by South Devon College

South Devon College was proud to host a one-day workshop for IMAPS UK (International Microelectronics Assembly & Packaging Society), offering practical and interactive skills sessions to technology specialists delivered by expert industry leaders in semiconductor engineering, photonics and electronic assembly. 

The intensive skills training event, held in the College’s Hi-Tech and Digital Centre, featured a course in Die Attach and Wire Bond Processes, with participants travelling from across the UK to attend the highly-regarded specialist event. 

Local Torbay Hi-Tech cluster businesses Bay Photonics and Davies & Bell helped co-design and deliver the high-quality training in the College’s specialist Kao/Hockham Photonics Training suite, which has been designed to complement the capabilities provided at the nearby Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC). EPIC, which is a key college partner, is a cutting-edge facility offering world-class labs, offices, and a classified cleanroom, unparalleled technical capabilities for research, development, and product innovation across diverse sectors like Microelectronics, Photonics, MedTech, AgriTech, MarineTech, and Aerospace. 

Aswathi Koorikkat from the Science Technology Facility Council, part of the UK Research Institute at Rutherford Appleton Labs in Oxfordshire, during the IMAPS conference

The skills training day, hosted in partnership with IMAPS, included a practical session where delegates had access to die attach and wirebond equipment, during which time they built and tested a small microelectronics assembly. The College is equipped with a number of manual die attach and wirebond machines in its laboratory, along with assembly test equipment and curing ovens, and these practical sessions were led by Martyn Davies, an Engineering Director / Consultant at Davies & Bell, and David Taylor, an Applications Engineer also from Davies & Bell. 

Steve Riches, Co-Director of Tribus-D, and Andy Longford, Founder and Managing Partner of technical consulting company PandA Europe, delivered an informative theory session focusing on the details and review process stages, materials and capabilities.  

Andy Longford said: “It was a unique event, as it offered a practical training course with theoretical support, together with a surgery for information on microelectronics, which are a part of every machine and every piece of equipment in our everyday lives.  

“South Devon College’s Photonics Suite is a one of a kind facility within the UK and offers a laboratory for wire bond and die attach applications, which are the key cornerstones to building microelectronics. This is the first event within the UK to offer students and people within the industry hands-on experience and we’re hoping to inspire and upskill the attendees, to support a growing industry in the UK that is short of skilled staff.” 

Andy Longford, Founder and Managing Partner of PandA Europe

Delegates also had an opportunity to discuss potential process issues and case studies within a ‘surgery’ setting run by Jason Elder, an Optoelectronic Test and Measurements Engineer, and Martin Richardson, who works on advanced semiconductor assembly development in the photonics, MEMS, medical sensor, OLED and industrial inkjet printing fields. 

The day concluded with a Q&A session. 

The workshop is aligned with the Photonic Integrated Circuit Packaging ACademy (PICPAC) project, in which the College offers a variety of courses in semiconductor photonic packaging training. 

Dr Roger Hopper, Skills Development Coordinator at South Devon College, said: “Fifteen participants attended the day from a variety of organisations including University of Oxford, University of Bristol, and Science and Technology Facility Council, as well as local businesses EuroTech Group and Bay Photonics. 

“Feedback from the day was that everyone enjoyed the training but would like more time in the Kao/Hockham Training suite to develop their practical skills. Following today’s success, we look forward to offering a number of other practical training sessions in the near future.” 

Steve Caunter, Assistant Principal at South Devon College, concluded: “Contributing to the skills needs at regional and national levels is essential to ensure that our technical training aligns with the requirements of employers in this key sector. We take pride in collaborating with all our partners to achieve a successful and impactful event.” 

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