IC Packaging Seen as Technology Enabler for Consumer Applications
-- Mobile Phone Market Drives System-in-Package R&D --
TAIPEI, Taiwan – September 12, 2006 – IC packaging is no longer viewed as a low cost assembly operation. Rather, with the development of system-in-package (SiP) technology, it has become an enabler for many electronics applications, according to a speaker at the SEMICON Taiwan 2006 IC Packaging and Test Forum.
In fact, the “back-end” helps compensate for a slowing down of Moore’s Law, according to Rainer Kyburz, an executive with ESEC Semiconductor. “The industry has made tremendous progress in the area of SiPs in the past few years,” he said. “With the challenges ahead it will be tough to keep this pace of SiP innovation. Collaboration is needed to push the limits further.”
Ho-Ming Tong, general manager of ASE Group, said several challenges were facing the IC packaging and test industry. The key ones were low average selling prices (ASPs), short time to market, environmental requirements such as RoHS, and the need for higher performance. “Meeting these requirements requires substantial R&D cost. We need to work very closely with the customers,” he said.
Mobile phones will be the predominant driver of SiP R&D in the foreseeable future, according to the ASE executive. In 2005, 800 million cell phones were shipped, providing a big impetus for the development of new SiPs. “We expect more system functions will migrate from the system board to the SiP,” he said.
The SiP market was worth $4.3 billion in 2005, with RF modules accounting for the biggest portion at 42 percent, according to Prismark Partners. The second largest application was stacked die-in-package, accounting for 28 percent. The total SiP market is expected to grow to a forecasted $10 billion by 2010. As the market grows, SiPs will be increasingly used in applications outside of mobile phones and portable devices, according to Prismark analyst Brandon Prior.
Tjandra Karta, senior director of back-end strategic development program at TSMC, noted that the ratio of silicon in total component cost was shrinking whereas the relative cost of IC packaging was going up. Advanced packaging is no longer just “plug-and-play”, but requires silicon-to-board integration for the maximum solution.
Karta noted that the R&D ratio for IC packaging is typically 2 percent of revenues. He posed the question: “Is this enough to address future challenges?” Karta suggested that supply chain partnerships were essential for future success in advanced IC packaging development.
SEMICON Taiwan 2006 runs September 11-13 at the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
SEMI is a global industry association serving companies that provide equipment, materials and services used to manufacture semiconductors, displays, nano-scaled structures, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and related technologies. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose (Calif.), Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.semi.org.