ANR The LEM3 laboratory and CIMULEC company, a SME, have created a joint laboratory dedicated to the reliability of printed circuit boards for high added value applications. This project, supported by the ANR for an initial period of 3 years, has started in March 2015.

This new joint laboratory LEMCI (Laboratory of Studies and Modeling for Printed Circuits) aims at developing a R & D synergy between the LEM3, public research laboratory and CIMULEC, SME manufacturer of multilayer and special printed circuits.

This LabCom, created by LEM3 and CIMULEC, aims at being a competence center for the printed circuit boards industry.

The LEMCI can propose facilities (material characterization, microstructural observations) and CAD and Finite Elements solutions. So the LEMCI is the salient partner for you research projects. The LEMCI can offer a digital solution for new designs and advanced printed circuit boards. Based on the virtual design, reliability problems can be anticipated and new solutions can be found with you.

 Position of LEMCI

The increasing densification of any electronic systems leads to a multiplication of the number of layers in the board, while reducing the size of copper pathes and the diameter of plated through holes. At the same time, performance and lifetime requirements, particularly for applications in severe and harsch environments, require the use of specific materials.

Finally, a printed circuit is always a multi-layered assembly, developed for a specific application. During its lifetime, the board will face complex electrical-mechanical and thermal loading. So the reliability of the PCB is really a multi-physics problem , and needs a strong expertise in mechanics of materials (characterization, modeling, simulation). LEM3 has developed for more than 30 years, novel and well recognized approaches for the field of mechanics of materials. Characterization of thin films, evolution of microstructures in copper during thermo-mechanical loading, prediction of internal stresses, strength of interfaces are among the scientific challenge that has to be investigated by the LEMCI. The PCB is therefore an ideal candidate for combining fundamental and application researches.

From the origin, the design is proposed by the end consumers and the PCB manufacturers produce the boards based on 2D representations (Gerber files) that do restrict the possibility to create 3D model. We propose , based on the Gerber files, to integrate the third dimension, by creating a virtual 3D model, that will shorten the design cycle, reducing development costs. It will constitute a major breakthrough for this industry, anticipating future strategies for the production such 3D printing or additive manufacturing, which is expected to be the future of the PCB industry at least for rapid prototyping.

The development of efficient and reliable 3D model will enable the validation of the appropriate technological solution without performing expensive experimental testings and numerous prototypes. This step is a key feature to ensure the manufacturer’s competitiveness. This R & D approach will strengthen CIMULEC, as one of PCB manufacturers with a very strong technical support for the most demanding circuit board designers. This LabCom project is also a real opportunity for the LEM3 to develop and transfer skills to the electronic industry.

With the strong expertise of LEM3 scientists and staff of CIMULEC, the LEMCI becomes a center of excellence for PCBs.