Innolux stepping into IC packaging

Rebecca Kuo, Tainan; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Innolux president James Yang

Innolux will remodel a 3.5G LCD panel factory to house an IC packaging line, with production to begin in second-half 2023, according to company president James Yang.

Innolux has been developing FO-PLP (fan-out panel-level packaging) IC packaging technology for 6-7 years and preparing to bring it into operation for 1-2 years, Yang said.

In addition to relatively expensive equipment, FO-WLP (fan-out wafer-level packaging) has a disadvantage of lower utilization of the area of a wafer and thus there is need for substrates larger than wafers to reduce packaging cost. Glass panels used in FO-PLP are rectangular substrates with much larger area than that for wafers, a reason for Innolux to develop FO-PLP.

Innolux is motivated to step into FO-PLP also by the following factors: TFT-LCD manufacturing process mainly consists of exposure and developing which are together technologically similar to semiconductor manufacturing process; facilities at the 3.5G LCD panel factory are very suitable for making RDL (redistribution layer) needed in mid-range and high-end IC packaging; Innolux's domain know-how can be seamlessly shifted to FO-PLP; and demand for advanced IC packaging is growing with large growth potential, Yang indicated.

To use 620x750mm glass panels in FO-PLP, Innolux is developing mid-range and high-end IC packaging with line width of 2-10 microns and has overcome the warpage problem, Yang said. Such IC packaging can enable an IC to have more I/O pin counts and a smaller size, Yang noted.

The area of a 620x750mm glass panel is 4,650 square centimeters, 6.37 time that of a 12-inch wafer, and 95% of the former can be utilized in FO-PLP, as compared with 85% of the latter in FO-WLP, Yang indicated.

In addition to FO-PLP, Innolux has cooperated with IC design houses and OSAT (outsources semiconductor assembly and test) service providers to innovate in heterogeneous integration technology, an important direction of development for Innolux's stepping into IC packaging, Yang noted.

While FO-PLP operation will begin in the second half of 2023, it is expected to generate annual revenues of over NT$14 billion (US$460 million) beginning 2025, Yang said.