Machine type used M Series laser marking system
Laser source Nd:YAG Q switched laser
Application Alphanumeric text
Completion year 1998
Customer IBM
Material Ceramic, plastic, fr4

Laser Marking IC Devices Application – IBM

Back in the day, when a computer processor actually had value, manufacturers played with the idea of being able to identify their products. This followed a court case, in America, where thieves walked out of court because the prosecution were unable to prove that product (devices) found on the arrested individuals belonged to their client, the manufacturer. IBM led the field with a programme that had them facilitate all their manufacturing sites worldwide with laser marking, in order to customise their product for future reference. The programme included laser marking the outside, but also logging ID numbers within the chips reference library.

The photo shows a number of different chipsets, all laser marked with a variety of identifying information. ND:YAG was used to mark the selection of plastic and ceramic based components. Some complications arose from marking too deep, but these were resolved quickly. The detail required at this level is quite remarkable, but the laser marking does not affect bonding wires yet, is of course, permanent.

Due to the quantity required in each manufacturing batch, the M series was built with a tray to tray transfer facility (Jedec trays were used to transport most of the devices being used). The scan field was able to process approx. half of the tray in one sequence; the tray would then be indexed so that the remaining devices could be processed. The trays were then sent to an off load station, where non tray based devices were marked, we provided a tube to tube facility, based on gravity feed through the laser marking area.

Nd:YAG laser marking was used back then. Fibre technology is more likely to be used today as it can cope with both materials very well.

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