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TAP TIMES                                               Volume 10, Number 2

           Test, Assembly & Packaging TIMES                                     February  2019

                         When are Kelvin sockets the “right” choice?

                         he number of test
                         and burn-in socket
                         suppliers—and the
                         abundant choices in

                         socket types and ma-
                         terials—seem to be
                         on a very strong, up-
       Tward growth curve.

        By some estimates there are probably 100
        companies that supply test and/or burn-in
        sockets to the global user community.
                                                                In  some  applications,  kelvin sockets  may offer  perfor-
                                                                mance advantages over more traditional units.  (Photo:
                                                                Precision Contacts)
        Ease of entry
        One reason for the spread of socket sup-                The electronics industry owes a debt to
        pliers is the ease and limited expense with             Lord Kelvin, born William Thompson in
        which entrepreneurs can enter the busi-                 Belfast, Ireland in 1826.  Lord Kelvin, a
        ness.                                                   physicist and mathematician at the Uni-
                                                                versity of Glasgow, Scotland, formulated,
        We won’t even mention production sock-                  among other things, the first and second
        ets, which some test and burn-in socket                 laws of thermodynamics.
        suppliers produce.  These are the sockets
        that typically ride aboard PC cards to hold
        various semiconductors.  These are not                  Absolute zero
        reused.                                                 In addition, Kelvin is the primary measure-
                                                                ment of temperature in the physical sci-
                                                                ences with absolute zero the equivalent of
        Most growth is offshore                                 -237.15 C.
        Most of the growth in new socket suppliers
        is offshore.  Domestic suppliers have been              A kelvin socket provides  separate force
        in a spiral of consolidation for several de-            and sense connections to each lead of the
        cades now.                                              component, notes Steven Warner of Lor-
                                                                anger International.  Next page
        A number of the once-familiar, old-guard
        company names have vanished into the                                       Advertisement
        larger corporations that acquired them.                      Air-CavityQFN?
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