Moore’s Law (Part 3)

High Vantage Point Required for Roadmapping & Planning:-

As we were discussing in our previous article in this series (Moore’s Law Part 2), technology forecasts can be hugely valuable but also potentially very misleading! By casting the net much wider, we at BPA can set that to rights.

The SIA, INEM, and other industry associations generate excellent technology road maps charting the development of component technology, packaging and interconnect. Most companies make use of these industry guidelines along with other inputs often from their customer’s Roadmaps.

The Roadmap concept provides an excellent vehicle to manage and to present inputs from a wide range of contributors and, with this input and expert analysis, creates a clear forecast.  However, it is important to consider whether the appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been included as the guides. Key elements at this stage in this process are taking a wider view which sets both the exercise and the map generated in context, and ensuring that all crucial factors have been taken into consideration.

When we at BPA are involved with contributing to a customer’s Roadmap, we ensure that the analysis includes important factors outside the immediate and evident technology or market issues: factors that in many cases are outside your customers’ and suppliers’ purview but may have a fundamental impact on the forecast.

Often companies need the assistance of an informed but disinterested expert to choose the right KPIs and to understand and bring to bear trends outside of those that can be obtained from customers and suppliers, bearing in mind that there is inevitably a commercial agenda with both. For example, in the previous article in this series we showed that a technology development and investment decision based only on the crossover point of cost per via would have steered you in the direction of Photovia processing …while the rest of the industry moved rapidly beyond Excimer to the thousands of high performance CO2 and hybrid solid state CO2/Excimer systems in use today.

Another example from the archives of not just taking a Roadmap at face value but of picking the right KPIs is the following analysis of a leading mobile handset from 15 years ago.

Archived phone handset

Most Roadmaps at the time forecast that the mainboard would by now –2015 – have a track and gap of well below 25um BUT they did not address another factor that has become dominant – the increase in I/O density (subsequently driven by the emergence of 2.5 and 3D packaging), which demanded ever increasing numbers of wiring and inflection points, or vias. The amount of wiring necessary has meant that the obstructions presented by vias and their landing pads need to be minimized as far as possible, giving rise to a completely new and different kind of board structure: “anylayer” vias.

Fig. 2: Anylayer iPhone5 section showing 10L motherboard and PoP packages (source: Chipworks)


In the next article we will show how this development in packaging has introduced new KPI’s to the PCB Industry.  Alongside we will explore the impact of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the commercial landscape as mobiles have become a bigger and bigger market and the players have changed substantially.

Get in Touch

BPA Consulting Ltd

Tel: +44 (0)1306 875500
Skype: bpa-consulting

Company No.: 3709460

Latest News