Semiconductor plastic packaging materials market to approach $21B by 2017

The market for semiconductor packaging materials, including thermal interface materials, is expected to maintain its $20 billion value through 2017, despite shifts away from the use of precious metals such as gold in wire bonding, according to a new study by SEMI and TechSearch International.  Despite continued price pressure, organic substrates remain the largest segment of the market, worth an estimated $7.4 billion globally in 2013 growing to more than $8.7 billion by 2017. Most packaging material segments are encountering low revenue growth as end users seek lower cost solutions for packaging and downward pricing pressures are severe. In addition, the transition to copper and silver bonding wire has significantly reduced impact of gold metal pricing in wire bond packages.

The SEMI report, titled “Global Semiconductor Packaging Materials Outlook—2013/2014 Edition,” covers laminate substrates, flex circuit/tape substrates, leadframes, bonding wire, mold compounds, underfill materials, liquid encapsulants, die attach materials, solder balls, wafer level package dielectrics and thermal interface materials.

Several areas are experiencing stronger growth. The expansion of CSPs with laminate substrates is driven by explosive growth in mobile computing and communications devices such as smartphones and tablets.  The same products are driving growth in wafer level packages (WLPs), which are in turn driving use of dielectric materials used for redistribution.  The growth in flip chip adoption continues to expand the market for underfill materials.  A number of key segments are seeing a consolidation of the supplier base, though new entrants in Asia are entering some segments.

Semiconductor Packaging Materials Segment Estimate of 2013

Global Market

($M)

Organic Substrates

$7,408

Leadframes

$3,342

Bonding Wire

$4,455

Mold Compounds

$1,394

Underfill Materials

$208

Liquid Encapsulants

$849

Die Attach Materials

$665

Solder Balls

$280

Wafer Level Package Dielectrics

$94

Thermal Interface Materials

$620

 

The findings in the report are based on more than 150 in-depth interviews conducted with packaging subcontractors, semiconductor manufacturers and materials suppliers.  It includes previously unpublished data on revenue, unit shipments and market shares for each packaging material segment; a five-year forecast of revenue and units (2012-2017); supplier rankings (for key segments) and listing (including new players); and an analysis of regional market trends and size.

The report also identifies important technology and business trends affecting the packaging materials market, as well as opportunities for suppliers. Some of the key opportunities include:

  • Thinner substrates for packages in mobile products and leading-edge CSP substrates to handle fine bump pitch of ≤110 µm
  • Alternatives to the typical epoxy or acrylic resin for thermal interface materials, including filler technologies such as carbon nanotubes or new approaches using graphene
  • Softer Pd-coated copper wire for circuit under pad applications
  • Low moisture level sensitivity mold compounds and encapsulants for bare copper and silver alloy wire
  • Die attach film materials with thickness 10 µm and under
  • No-flow underfill materials
  • Continued trend of Pb-free solder balls for BGAs and CSPs, smaller diameter balls for WLP
  • Wafer-level package dielectrics with low temperature cure, lower dielectric constant, and lower cost

This information was derived from the SEMI Global Semiconductor Packaging Materials Outlook—2013-2014 Edition (www.semi.org/en/node/45446).

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