Indium Acquires SAFI-Tech to Advance Low-Temperature Soldering TechnologyOctober 3, 2023 | Indium Corporation
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Indium Corporation, an international electronics materials refiner, smelter, manufacturer, and supplier, is proud to announce the acquisition of SAFI-Tech, a metal microcapsule technology innovator specializing in supercooling technology. The acquisition expands Indium Corporation’s product portfolio while enabling the industry leader in low-temperature soldering to continue providing the most innovative, future-forward soldering solutions to its customers around the globe. Among its current portfolio of low-temperature products are traditional bismuth- and indium-containing alloys, new Bi+, and cutting-edge Durafuse® LT technology for high reliability.
The acquisition follows an established, mutually beneficial partnership between the two companies. Last year, Indium Corporation collaborated with SAFI-Tech to launch a supercooled BiSn solder paste using the latter’s innovative solder platform. This patented technology platform allows molten metal to remain liquid far below its freezing point by encapsulating it in a smooth shell—known as supercooling. The shell of these microcapsules can be removed using a traditional flux and reflow process, or by mechanically crushing a powder of supercooled liquid metal microcapsules. Using this platform, industry-standard alloys such as SAC305 can be soldered at below typical low-temperature solder (LTS) specifications, while other alloys can be soldered at temperatures as low as ambient.
“SAFI-Tech’s supercooling platform is an exciting addition to our award-winning product portfolio, allowing us to deliver next-generation soldering materials,” said Ross Berntson, President and COO of Indium Corporation. “This innovation has far-reaching potential and embedding SAFI-Tech into Indium Corporation gives it the opportunity to succeed widely and quickly.”
In addition to acquiring the Iowa-based company, Indium Corporation will also benefit from SAFI-Tech’s co-founder, co-inventor, and President Dr. Ian Tevis joining the company as an R&D Manager. In this role, Dr. Tevis oversees a team dedicated to application technology and manages the ongoing research and design of SAFI-Tech supercooled products.
“As a key partner to SAFI-Tech over the past five years, we have witnessed Indium Corporation’s position as an industry leader first-hand,” said Dr. Tevis. “We are confident that the company’s state-of-the-art facilities, network of customers and equipment suppliers, and talented team members will accelerate our work in bringing supercooled solder to a worldwide audience.”
Originating from Iowa State University with the discovery of no-heat and low-heat solder and metallic joining products, SAFI-Tech was founded in 2016 by Dr. Tevis and Dr. Martin Thuo. It was backed by Rhapsody Venture Partners.
“We have been tremendously impressed by Indium Corporation’s vision for SAFI-Tech and the capabilities they possess,” said Carsten Boers, Managing Partner at Rhapsody Venture Partners and lead investor in SAFI-Tech. “This transaction was the natural next step in our great collaboration and we look forward to seeing the success which comes from it.”
Prior to serving as President and Chief Technical Officer of SAFI-Tech, Dr. Tevis did postdoctoral work at Iowa State University and UMass Boston. He was also a Research Scientist at a company specializing in the production of carbon nanotubes. While working at Iowa State University, he invented and patented supercooled liquid metal technology, along with Dr. Thuo, which ultimately led to the establishment of SAFI-Tech in 2016. Dr. Tevis earned his doctorate degree in materials chemistry from Northwestern University and his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, with a minor in mathematics, from Bradley University.
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Ian Tevis is CTO and founder of SAFI-Tech, a startup focusing on SMT solutions. He explains how he founded SAFI-Tech right after college and details the benefits of the company's first product, No-Heat SAC305.
The electronics manufacturing world has long been searching for a low-heat or no-heat solder solution. Advanced electronics designs with lightweight flexible substrates or sensitive miniaturized components require a dramatic reduction in processing heat while still meeting high operating temperature requirements.