MKS showcases at TPCA Show 2023 advanced process solutions to accelerate the development of high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and more complex smartphone and automotive key electronics.
Innovations in high-performance computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and more complex smartphone and automotive electronics are leading to significant changes in the global technology sectors. To respond quickly to these trends, MKS Instruments with its strategic brands ESI and Atotech presented its combined product offering of leading manufacturing solutions for printed circuit board (PCB) and package substrate manufacturing at the TPCA Show 2023- held in the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center. The demonstrated solutions combine MKS' ESI laser drilling technologies with MKS' Atotech process chemistry and plating equipment, underscoring why. MKS is best positioned to Optimize the Interconnect by providing the next generation of advanced electronics to enable new technologies of miniaturization and complexity for the PCB and package substrate industries.
Harald Ahnert, Vice President and General Manager of the MKS Materials Solutions Division, highlighted the product offering this year, starting with the latest ESI laser systems, the Capstone UV laser for flex PCBs, and the Geode CO2 laser for HDI and package substrate applications. In addition, he featured the new Atotech vPlate, a vertical continuous plating equipment for advanced HDI and package substrate achieving uniformities of below 7%. On the chemistry side, Ahnert showcased a series of new solutions for advanced package substrate manufacturing ranging from surface treatment (EcoFlash S300 and Novabond EX S2), solutions for metallization (Printoganth MV TP3 and Cupraganth MV), solutions for core through hole filling and BMV filling (Inpulse 2THF2 and InPro SAP3) to final finishing processes for HDI and flex PCBs, as well as for thick tin plating of µ-LED, package substrates, or solder depot. Other chemical highlights include a new silver-plating process and sustainable post-treatments of connectors and integrated circuits (ICs).
"We have recently installed new systems of Atotech G-Plate system in one of our global technology centers to drive the production of next-generation package substrates and provide customers and OEMs alike with faster development cycles for new products and materials enabling high-end SAP technology that requires downsizing to smaller feature sizes of less than 5/5 µm lines and spaces," added Harald as he addressed the company's commitment to enabling new technologies.
The company completed the acquisition of Atotech in August 2022. During this week at the TPCA show, the industry was also curious about the status of this acquisition after one year and how the company is progressing. Wayne Cole, Senior Vice President of MKS Material Solutions Division Global Sales and Services, answers in this interview. "Our customers are very excited about the combination of the companies, which adds product expertise and know-how in laser drilling, process chemistry, and surface preparation tools. Our sales and engineering teams have been very committed since August last year to working closely with customers and OEMs to expand the MKS product offering for industrial applications and extend our market reach. Market acceptance has been rewarding, and the team has leveraged synergies areas across the board." Cole said.
High-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI), and more complex smartphone and automotive key electronics enable cross-industry phenomenon
Looking at Taiwan's technology sectors, HPC, AI, smartphones and automotive key electronics are the driving forces that bring unique opportunities to local manufacturers. AI applications represent the fastest-growing segment for high-end package substrates and wafer-level processing capabilities. Cooperation among equipment vendors, material vendors, and manufacturers is imperative to meet future roadmap requirements. MKS has worked to create alliances with material manufacturers to process highly specialized materials and to develop the next generation of products more holistically and faster by offering new process equipment and materials that meet manufacturing requirements and roadmaps.
Given all the applications in our daily lives that need semiconductors, such as smartphones, wearables, PCs, cars, factories, and medical devices, the industry is bullish on the outlook for semiconductors despite continued supply chain constraints the sector is currently managing through as well as potential softening of consumer demand resulting from tightening financial conditions. Demand for products is also being driven by the increasing innovation needed to make smaller and more complex chips, e.g., AI creating a new ERA of Advanced packaging.
One can see supply matching needed capacity, so the 2023 market demand is relatively flat and not growing at the same levels as in past cycles. However, there is general agreement that in 2024 the market will see a need for increased capacity to meet rising demand. Into 2025 and beyond, we will see growth, especially in the flip-chip BGA market, copper-clad applications, and module-based packaging. MKS is working with its partners to develop technologies and applications that are [fully qualified and] ready to meet future volume demands.
Seeing the explosive growth of high-end PCBs, package substrates and wafer-level processing one common factor becomes clear that technology challenges remain constant. MKS employs more than 2,200 people in Asia, where many of its global facilities are located. George Yang, Vice President of MKS Materials Solutions Division Greater China Region, says the Taiwanese technology center located in Taoyuan Guanyin, has been built close to key customers and offers key services from process development and pilot production to material science and analytical investigations. "We have been working with leading Taiwanese PCB and package substrate manufacturers and have been shaping the industry in Greater China with our innovative, continuously improved solutions for well over 40 years. This is just another step in our ongoing success story, and we are all proud of the innovative capabilities of our global engineering teams in collaborative projects that enable our customers to achieve better yields, productivity, and performance."
Reporter Cheng interviewed MKS' Atotech at TPCA SHOW