March 16, 2011 – We’ve been tracking the Japan earthquake’s impact on the semiconductor community, including a constantly updated list of facilities impacted and a broader view of the impact on global markets. But there’s one angle to this tragedy that could directly affect the semiconductor packaging sector.
Apparently one of the bigger problems is a growing shortage of bismaleimide triazine (BT) resin, a material used in many chip package substrates. BT is mainly sourced in Japan, and key supplier Mitsubishi Gas Chemical is among the many companies facing potential production outages. "Shortage of BT resin would most impact Xilinx (50% exposed), Altera (40% exposed), and Qualcomm (30% exposed)," writes Craig Berger from FBR Research.
Further downstream this affects PBGA packages produced by backend assembly/test firms including ASE, Siliconware Precision (SPIL), and Amkor, Berger notes. Credit Suisse analysts add substrate companies Kinsus and Unimicron to the list as well.
Even further down the packaging chain, most raw materials for printed circuit boards (PCB) are supplied outside of Japan, Credit Suisse notes. Production outages at JX Nippon, a major supplier of RA foil, should be partially offset by other sources in Taiwan (Furukawa Copper foil, Taiwan Copper Foil) and the US (Olimbrass).