OMRON Launches Mass Production of a New Probe Pin for Inspection of High-density ICs

  OMRON Launches Mass Production of a New Probe Pin for Inspection of
  High-density ICs

               Electroforming Technology Enables Finer Pitches

Business Wire

KYOTO, Japan -- July 1, 2013

OMRON Corporation (TOKYO:6645)(ADR:OMRNY) today announced that the company has
developed an ultra-compact probe pin electroformed through an electroplating
process, and commenced its mass production. A probe pin is a contact pin used
for inspection of electronic components. The employment of electroforming
technology has led to superior characteristics, which are difficult to achieve
with the currently available cutting process. Specifically, OMRON's new probe
pin enables a very fine pitch, versatile contact shapes, and a multiple
contact point configuration, while being capable of handling a high current

New Probe Pin for inspection of high-density ICs. Electroforming technology
enables finer pitches. ( ...

New Probe Pin for inspection of high-density ICs. Electroforming technology
enables finer pitches. (Photo: Business Wire)

Development Background
In recent years, packaging density has been increasing for SMT ICs, LCDs,
fine-pitch glass substrates, and other electronic components. This has allowed
such components to incorporate more and more sophisticated functions in
electronic equipment. At the same time, these electronic components have a
very large number of pins and electrode pads, and they are laid out very close
to each other on a PCB. Inspection of electronic components uses a probe pin.
Such high-density devices require inspection of many areas, so multiple probe
pins must be placed with a very small spacing between each.

A probe pin typically has a cylindrical shape and consists of multiple parts,
namely plungers (contacts), a coil spring, and a barrel to house them. Due to
this configuration, the conventional probe pin has several drawbacks, which
make it difficult to meet a customer's requirements for fine-pitch,
multi-point inspection.

These drawbacks include:
    Limitations as to how far a probe pin's diameter can be reduced using the
-  conventional cutting process, which makes it difficult to support finer
-   Because the probe pin consists of multiple parts, the conduction path
    becomes complex, thus making contact resistance unstable.
-   Making the spring's coil diameter smaller increases conductor resistance,
    causing heat generation and the spring's disconnection.

OMRON overcame these problems by creating a new structure using the company's
proprietary electroforming technology. The result is an electroformed probe
pin that has a structure entirely different from that of a conventional probe

1. Flat structure makes it easier to reduce pitch
With a conventional probe pin with a cylindrical structure, the molding of a
thinner socket becomes extremely difficult in the case of a fine pitch.
OMRON's electroformed probe pin employs a flat structure, which enables
placement of pins at any angle, thus making it easier to reduce pitch compared
to a conventional cylindrical probe pin. It is also possible to use a general
cylindrical socket housing with the flat probe pin.

2. High-precision formation of versatile shapes enables creation of separate
spring and barrel sections in a single component
OMRON's proprietary, advanced electroforming technology capable of forming
versatile shapes enables a single component to incorporate a spring section to
provide contact force and durability, and a barrel section that turns on power
when it fits the plunger, separate from each other. No electricity flows
through the miniaturized spring section, thus solving such problems as
excessive temperature rise, the spring section's disconnection, and unstable

3. Quick delivery of customized products is possible as no die is necessary
OMRON's electroforming technology eliminates the necessity for costly
investment in press dies and other equipment, as well as the time-consuming
die-making process for prototyping and mass production of probe pins. Specific
demand for customized non-standard specifications can be satisfied speedily.

4. Other benefits brought about by OMRON's electroforming technology:
OMRON's probe pin provides a smooth contact end surface that protects objects
to be inspected from damage. It can also have multiple miniaturized contacts,
and offers high durability through the use of OMRON's original material.

A contact pin for inspection of semiconductors, glass substrates, LCDs, PCBs,

Factory in Charge
Yasu Plant, OMRON Corporation

Specifications of New Probe Pin
< Electroformed Probe >
・ Specifications   Contact resistance: 100mΩ max. pin (at DC20mV max.,
                      100mA max.)
                      Contact force: 15gf
                      Mechanical durability: 500,000 times
・ Price              Open
・ Sales Target       5,000,000 pins/month


  *Terminal Shape Formation through Electroforming Technology
    Electroforming is a metal forming process that forms ultra-thin metal
    components through the electroplating process. The components are produced
    by developing a layer of metal onto a base form (master). Once the plated
    layer has been built up to the desired thickness, this newly formed part
    is stripped off the master substrate. Electroforming enables
    high-precision production of extremely small, thin and fine parts. OMRON
    also produces dies using microfabrication technology to meet more exacting
    needs for shapes and sizes, thus enabling transfer of a pattern with
    submicron-scale (0.0001mm) accuracy.
  *OMRON's small battery connector using subminiature electroformed contacts
    now employed for smartphones

    In December of 2012, OMRON developed a battery connector with a pitch of
    2mm and a depth of 2.6mm, using subminiature contacts. OMRON's
    electroforming technology made it possible to produce these contacts that
    are impossible to form with conventional press technology.

    OMRON's battery connector can reduce the footprint on PCBs of smartphones,
    mobile phones, and other mobile devices, thus contributing to further
    miniaturization of devices and larger battery sizes.

Visit the website below for more information about OMRON's micro contacts and
electroforming technology:

Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, OMRON Corporation is a global leader in the
field of automation. Established in 1933, Omron has more than 35,000 employees
in over 35 countries working to provide products and services to customers in
a variety of fields including industrial automation, electronic components,
social systems, healthcare, and the environment. The company has regional head
offices in Singapore (Asia Pacific), Beijing (Greater China), Amsterdam
(Europe, Africa, and the Middle East), Chicago (the Americas), Gurgaon
(India), and Sao Paulo (Brazil).
For more information, visit OMRON's website at

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:



OMRON Electronic and Mechanical Components Company
Hirotada Teranishi, +81-44-812-3432
Marketing Section
Connector Division
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