23 Sep 2005:
SPIL to get more than 300 newest wire bonders from K&S by October
US-based supplier of semiconductor-assembly equipment, tools and materials Kulicke & Soffa Industries (K&S) stated it is currently in the process of shipping 580 wire bonders to Taiwan. The wire bonders were purchased by Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL) through a series of orders starting in June, the companies confirmed. The orders include 273 Maxμm Plus machines and 307 of the newest Maxμm Ultra systems, with deliveries beginning in July and continuing through to October, K&S said. All the equipment will be installed by SPIL at its facility in Taichung.
16 Sep 2005:
Manufacturing process methodology for MEMS market success
Over the last 15 years, MEMS has become a well-known term in the field of high-tech innovative technologies. Research centers' activities in this area have grown tremendously and companies have started to see the possibility of leveraging this accumulated know-how to find new sources of revenues. In addition, semiconductor companies are attracted by the idea of enlarging their product portfolio without cannibalizing existing business and by exploiting already depreciated equipment.
With the right time, workforce and environment, Taiwan will become the center of IC design OEM – Opportunity arises as Japan IDMs cooperate with Taiwan against Korea
Besides Taiwan’s first-tier foundry and packaging/testing houses that already have leading, world-class positions, Taiwan also has a promising IC design industry that includes several houses that are among the top ten in worldwide sales. These design houses, however, are far behind their international competitors in innovation and product development. Their abilities in these areas may not even be considered to be in the top 20 or 30 of the global industry. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the P/E ratios of these companies have stayed at around 10 during the past few years.
A look at China’s IC design houses
Just two months after saying it might lift a ban to allow Taiwanese semiconductor makers to set up China fabs using 0.18-micron processes, the Taiwan government in early April said the ban would stay in effect. The decision disappointed many. As the fourth quarter begins, no progress has been made.
Sumitomo schedules photoresist production for 32nm EUV lithography by 2008
At the recently concluded SEMICON Taiwan, Japan-based Sumitomo Chemical revealed a roadmap for its Sumiresist materials used in semiconductor photolithography to form a patterned coating on the surface of a substrate. According to the roadmap, the company is scheduling to begin mass production of a positive photoresist for 32nm extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography by the end of 2008.
Synova revolutionizes wafer dicing – A cleaner, gentler cut
Synova SA is poised to revolutionize wafer dicing with its innovative laser-microjet (LMJ) technology, where a hair-thin low-pressure jet of water guides the laser while simultaneously absorbing heat and washing away debris. The technology has numerous applications, but notably in the dicing of wafers, where conventional mechanical sawing and back-grinding are potentially damaging at deep submicron geometries and unsuitable for the cutting of brittle compound wafer materials such as gallium arsenide (GaAs).
Puma 9000 combines high-res imaging with darkfield scattering; KLA-Tencor offers the best of both worlds
Announced in June, KLA-Tencor’s Puma 9000 patterned wafer inspection system combines high-resolution imaging with laser scattering technology. Previously, KLA-Tencor offered these technologies on different platforms. The product portfolio had included a 23xx platform with high-resolution brightfield imaging as well as a platform called AIT for laser darkfield scattering.
15 Sep 2005:
Advanced Energy highlights PI-980 pressure-insensitive MFC
The problem with single-drop gas lines has been the creation of pressure transients and perturbations when valves are opened and closed, and it’s these disturbances in flow pressure that the semiconductor-equipment industry collectively calls “MFC crosstalk.” At Semicon Taiwan 2005, Advanced Energy highlighted the Aera PI-980 series of pressure-insensitive MFCs, designed to address MFC-crosstalk flow-stability problems.
The “Rich dad” effect in the Taiwan IC design industry
Although the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is mainly about two differing financial views of the world, a key idea that arises from the book is the unfairness of resource distribution. In Taiwan the “rich dad” effect is obvious in the Taiwan IC design industry. Those companies that are invested in by a large, well-established company -- a “rich dad” -- fair better than those that do not.
Unstable cross-strait relations hinder Taiwan investment in China; Government should assist in “industry upgrade”
Over the past few years, China has been systematically promoting economic reforms while domestic consumption significantly increased. As a result, China has become “the world’s factory” in a global economic system and replaced the US to become the most important consumer market globally. To improve competitiveness amid the trend of globalization, many companies want a piece of this potentially huge consumer market. Taiwan, a region that shares the same language and culture with China, has special advantages in language, geographic location and culture. It is inevitable that Taiwan-based companies will want set up facilities in China.
Taiwan needs to increase R&D spending
Twelve years ago when a Taiwan economics official explained to parliament a project on submicron technology, an ignorant lawmaker mistook it for an agricultural project because the translation of “submicron” in Chinese happened to have the word “rice” in it. While ignorance might have hindered the development of Taiwan’s IT industry 12 years ago, now it is political wrangling that is standing in the way.
14 Sep 2005:
The Da Vinci road – SEZ’s Da Vinci tool enables single-wafer wet processing
At Semicon Taiwan 2005, the SEZ Group was showing its Da Vinci series of single-wafer wet processing systems, which target polymer removal for copper dual-damascene etch. The Da Vinci series is applicable to 90-nanometer process nodes and is now proven down to 65 nanometers. Based on R&D work with strategic customers, it is highly likely that Da Vinci could also be applied at 45 nanometers.
Promos orders Genus StrataGem 300mm ALD process tools
ProMOS Technologies has placed a purchase order agreement for a production ALD system from Genus, a member of the Aixtron Group. The system will initially be used for the volume production of advanced memory devices using 90nm technology at the new ProMOS facility, Fab 3, located in the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP).
Taiwan IC designers losing ground to China competitors
China’s IC designers are no longer the copycats they used to be. Since 2003, they have attained significant breakthroughs in the development of software and firmware. In addition, they have accumulated quite a lot of system development tools and experience. The China players are now a real threat to their Taiwan rivals.
Rohm and Haas to set up manufacturing plant in Taiwan
The US-based polishing technology supplier Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials CMP is using its presence at SEMICON Taiwan 2005 this week in Taipei to attract more attention to its recently announced plan of building a manufacturing plant in Chunan, Miaoli County. The company says it will invest US$50 million in the facility that will produce polishing pads and slurries used in IC production.
Lam Research: It's no longer just CPUs and DRAM leading process development
As consumer electronics goods see increasing adoption by consumers, the tendency of favorably evaluating products that are fun-oriented rather then utility-oriented is swinging the whole semiconductor industry, Stephen G Newberry, CEO of Lam Research, commented at the September 12 CEO Forum following the opening ceremony of Semicon Taiwan 2005. In order to meet the demand driven by consumer electronics goods, foundries need to provide more flexible production, Newberry stressed.
Agilent strengthens ties with NDL on wafer mapping tool development
Agilent Technologies recently announced that it will partner with National Nano Device Laboratories (NDL) on wafer mapping tool development, aiming to shorten the testing time for high-frequency components and create an analysis tool for engineers to improve the functionality of ICs.
SMIC could start production at its UTAC JV pack and test house in 1Q 2006
An IC backend production plant jointly established by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) and United Test and Assembly Center (UTAC) in Chengdu, China, has recently sourced around five hundred wire bonders with the first batch of equipment to be installed later this month. Volume production could begin as early as the first quarter of next year, according to sources at equipment makers.
13 Sep 2005:
Taiwan IC backend production rebounds but still banned from moving forward
The fire at Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE)’s facilities in May of this year benefited some competing IC packaging and testing companies as was evident by their increased capacity utilization rates. Although many packaging and testing firms did well, how is the industry doing as a whole? Has it peaked and is it now heading towards another trough? This article looks at where the next growth drivers are and where new battles for the Taiwanese players in the IC packaging and testing industry will be fought.
What’s next for the IC equipment industry?
Time flashes back to last year’s Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS), the global IC equipment market was blossoming with an influx of orders. However, at this year’s conference, participants were disappointed by the industry’s cyclical downturn and the decline of capital expenditure (capex) by industry players. Is the global IC equipment industry stepping into another recession and how will equipment makers continue to push technological development?
Evolution in packing technology
As semiconductor production technology has evolved, the growing functionality of integrated circuit (ICs) has correspondingly increased the pin count per chip. Traditional lead-frame packaging increasingly cannot handle today’s increasingly complex IC chips due to physical size barriers. As semiconductor production evolves, so too is the packing industry. The packaging industry is migrating from packaging technologies such as DIP (dual in-line package), SOP (small outline package) and TSOP (thin small outline package) to the IC-substrate based BGA (ball grid array), FBGA (flip chip BGA) and the advanced CSP (chip scale package).
Soitec moves ahead in SOI
France-based Soitec, which produces silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers based on its patented Smart Cut technology, recently opened a Taiwan office, responding to growing industry interest in SOI. Bill Chu, sales director for Taiwan and Singapore, says that between 1998 and 2004, Soitec has achieved an average CAGR of 57%.
TSMC CEO: Time to market is time to money
The most important concern with current semiconductor companies is their ability to accelerate their time to market – which equates to time to money – as end-users move toward the digital consumer era and the average product life cycle keeps shrinking, according to Rick Tsai, CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
Ramping 12-inch wafer output stimulates tester adjustment
Stimulated by growing 12-inch wafer testing orders, local testing houses including Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) have both installed more probers on their multi-head testers to perform front-end wafer probing jobs, according to industry sources.
Amkor conservative from mid-4Q
Although confident about the next two months, Amkor Technology is conservative about demand growth after November, claiming that high crude oil price may serve as a limiting factor.
Memory module makers gear up production in China
Substantial demand for NAND flash memory is encouraging memory module makers to accelerate their expansion in China because of its relatively low assembly costs. Kingston Technology recently inaugurated its Shanghai plant, while fellow module makers have either started deploying or plan to establish assembly bases in China.
Micron anticipates stabilizing memory prices; opens expanded testing & assembly capacity in Singapore
Although Micron Technology was trumped by Korea-based Hynix Semiconductor as the third largest DRAM suppliers in the second quarter, the US-based memory and CMOS image sensor supplier is turning bullish about the memory business outlook and has opened its latest memory-related testing and packaging expansion at its Singapore plant.
12 Sep 2005:
Where is Taiwan as China rises in the global IC industry?
As the focus of the global semiconductor industry turns to China, Taiwan players are benefiting from the influx of substantial business opportunities. However, as the semiconductor chain of its giant neighbor matures, aggressive competition is bound to begin.
Taiwan semiconductor capex on track in 2005; may miss 2006 forecast
Equipment spending by Taiwan's semiconductor industry, including foundry, memory manufacturing and packaging and testing companies, will meet the 2005 forecast, according to Archie Hwang, the newly announced vice chairman of Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) and chairman and CEO of Hermes-Epitek Corporation.
Varian Semiconductor voted best equipment supplier in Taiwan
VLSI Research announced Friday that Varian Semiconductor came out on top in its annual customer satisfaction survey. The survey asked equipment users to rate equipment suppliers on thirteen criteria. The top-rated equipment suppliers received high scores from Taiwanese customers in several areas. Three of these companies – Variant, Agilent, and Hitachi High-Technologies – received their best ratings in the uptime criteria. Another three, Tokyo Electron, Teradyne, and Nikon received their highest marks in technical leadership. Credence’s best category was support after sales. ASM International earned its top ratings in process support. Customers rated Advantest’s quality of results as its strongest criteria. Applied Materials garnered its highest ratings in usable throughput.
SPIL and KYEC deny merger rumors
Bough Lin, chairman of Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL), and Lin Dian-fang, president of King Yuan Electronics (KYEC), both denied rumors suggesting that SPIL was looking to merge with its affiliate KYEC.