Electronic Packaging that Answers to a Higher Power
MWJ: Semiconductor Enclosures Inc. (SEI) in Newburyport, MA is a private company that designs and manufactures ceramic packaging for electronics, what are some of your main products?
CM: Our main products are for legacy microwave diodes, varactors, MMICs, and amplifier packages.
MWJ: How did the company get started?
CM: We purchased the assets of EPI Ceramics. We started with the material set and then had to resurrect all the processes from A to Z. Fortunately we had the support of our sister company Barry Industries which already had a green FAB for LTCC. This coupled with their extensive vertical integration meant we did not have to start from square one with everything.
MWJ: What’s the connection to Barry Industries today?
CM: Barry Industries and SEI are independent incorporated companies that are both privately owned by Richard Barry (Barry Industries owner/founder).
MWJ: I understand the area has a history of expertise in electronic packaging, could you explain that history and how it has been incorporated into SEI?
CM: I think the answer is worthy of a lengthy article! New England was home to some key pioneers in the ceramics industry. The Newburyport area alone has been home to three ceramic companies that were here for many years. We have been fortunate to draw upon the local talent.
MWJ: Where are your products being used in the RF/microwave field?
CM: Because a lot of our packages are low pin count, they are used in a wide range of applications/markets. Radar, MRI, radios. Some of our higher pin count packages like the QFN are used for all sorts of devices (switches, LNA’s, etc).
MWJ: What features or capabilities does SEI offer in its products that might be considered unique?
CM: We are a powder to package facility with some excellent vertical integration for helping create new designs or building packages to print. Most of our tooling is made in-house which provides for more economical new packages in less time than our competitors. We also make ceramic systems for other very large companies due to our focus on material science.
MWJ: What are some of the trends you are seeing in packaging technology?
CM: Higher power densities, more power dissipation, functionality, at low cost. Also trending toward a reduction in the use of precious metals or eliminating them completely.
MWJ: What kinds of trends are you seeing in customer demands?
CM: Again complexity and functionality at higher powers.
MWJ: Setting up manufacturing in the US during the recession must have been tough, how did SEI survive?
CM: The support of Barry Industries, some key diode customers, and our materials business has enabled us to grow during some difficult economic headwinds. We have been able to create new materials for other companies that have been able to patent and market new products.
MWJ: How does the future look for SEI?
CM: With focus on some of our new products, I think that we will continue to grow.