Bye bye to plastic packages
Posted: 19th October 2020
During the 1990s, a number of high profile global manufacturers of frequency products developed plastic packaged crystals and oscillators. They purchased a lower-cost alternative to what were back then more expensive, the ceramic-and metal-based packages. Consequently, large manufacturers dominated the marketplace and took many design-wins with these plastic devices over the years.
Since 2010, the frequency product industry has started replacing plastic packaged crystals with ceramic packages for most standard SMD.
Although plastic material may be low cost, the costs of maintenance of a plastic package production line and plastic-moulding machines are high. Furthermore, as the moulds have started to wear, it has become more costly to keep them functional. Slowly, manufacturers have therefore moved away from plastic packages and made them end of life (EOL).
IQD suggests that customers consider altering their PCB to suit a more standard ceramic package device where available in the required frequency. These are often smaller, by now lower in cost and readily available in stock for common frequencies.
There are a number of advantages of using ceramic packaged crystals, which include:
1. Most current ceramic-based devices are hermetically sealed and thus MSL (Moisture Sensitivity Level) is not applicable. Therefore, they offer extended storage and handling time compared with plastic devices. On the contrary, plastic packages can absorb moisture which may result in the ‘popcorn’ effect during the soldering process.
2. As technology and miniaturization methods improve ceramic packages are much easier to decrease in size. Whereas, plastic would need smaller mould-tools to reduce sizes, which are again expensive and difficult to maintain.
3. Ceramic parts are available with very low heights down to 0.5 mm. This makes them ideal for ‘wearable’ applications, or any applications where size and height is critical.
4. Natural decomposition of plastic products can last up to a thousand years with the latest degradable items. Furthermore, plastics produce toxic gases and residues which causes pollution. Plastic clogs up waterways, oceans, seas and other natural habitats filled with animals who mistake dangerous plastics for food. These are just some examples of how plastics harm our environment.
For support in finding alternative parts, please refer to the IQD website or contact our Sales team.