In the News


SECAP Splits Up After 300-mm WLP Achievement

MUNICH, GERMANY - The Semiconductor Equipment Consortium for Advanced Packaging (SECAP) made a recent split since the Consortium has successfully established 300-mm wafer-level packaging (WLP) technology. Full-volume production on the first installed wafer-bumping line is now underway. First established in July 2000, SECAP took on challenges in process equipment development and validation for WLP and 300-mm wafer technology conversion. Semitool, SUSS MicroTec, Image Technology, Nexx Systems, Unaxis, EKRA, BTU International, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM) in Berlin were among SECAP’s member companies.

Since July 2002, SECAP members worked closely together with Amkor/Unitive to develop a 300-mm wafer-bumping line that addresses WLP technical demands. Set up at Hsinchu, Taiwan-based Unitive Semiconductor Taiwan (UST), the line was equipped for electroplated solder bumping. After line qualification in May 2003, it was open for a short period of time for interested parties to view and to verify its capabilities. In late 2004, Amkor acquired the line, and it is now in high-volume production, allowing SECAP to accomplish its mission to demonstrate a cost-effective equipment solution for 300-mm electroplated solder bumping.

All resources gathered throughout SECAP’s activities will be archived on SECAP’s website at, which will stay active. SECAP members also will continue to work closely together on other projects when determined.

Honeywell Joins Albany NanoTech for Materials Focus

SUNNYVALE, CALIF. - Over the next 5 years, Honeywell Electronic Materials (HEM) intends to invest at least $5 million in laboratory equipment and research activities at Albany NanoTech, a center for U.S. nanotechnology research. HEM also will locate laboratories and researchers at the center to work on next-generation materials for the semiconductor industry. HEM plans to focus its work at Albany NanoTech on developing metal precursors and other materials related to atomic layer deposition (ALD), a manufacturing method that deposits a single layer on a chip that is only one atom or molecule thick, which is crucial for the fact that chips are decreasing to below 100 nm. HEM is also specifically focused on next-generation high-k dielectrics. “The investment in Albany NanoTech allows us to work alongside leading computer technology companies, and builds on our research and development work being conducted throughout HEM,” claims Dr. Saket Chadda, HEM’s CTO.

Albany NanoTech is home to the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and the New York State Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics (NYSCEN) of the University at Albany. The complex houses 200- and 300-mm wafer capabilities, and includes nanoelectronics, system-on-a-chip technologies, biochips, optoelectronics and photonics devices, closed-loop sensors, and ultra-high-speed communication components. With Class 1-capable 300-mm wafer cleanrooms and on-site faculty and student researchers, Albany NanoTech provides an environment for corporate partners to pioneer, develop, and test new nanoscience and nanoengineering breakthroughs. For more information, please visit

NxGen to Increase Packaging Assembly Capabilities

CARLSBAD, CALIF. - San Diego, Calif.-based NxGen Electronics Inc., an advanced microelectronics design, manufacturing, packaging, and custom assembly company, has purchased automation equipment and process developer Palomar Technologies’ latest wire bonding and gold ball bumping equipment. The new Palomar equipment enables NxGen to perform expanded quick-turn prototyping and complex assembly packaging processes. Having purchased and installed Palomar’s Model 8000 high speed thermosonic ball and stitch wire bonder, NxGen also is using Palomar’s Model 3500-II automatic component assembly cell for flip chip attach and placement with ±12-µm accuracy. NxGen plans to incorporate the 3500-II to perform such applications as chip-on-board, fine-pitch SMT, multichip modules, microwave modules, and hybrid microcircuits. The Model 8000 automatic wire bonder expands NxGen’s capabilities for assembly of terminal-active optoelectronic components and precision microelectronic packaging, enabling gold stud bumping of 4-, 6-, 8-, and 12-in. wafers and deep-access and large-format (6 × 12-in.) wire bonding. NxGen can achieve a finished bond height consistency of ±2 µm at 3 sigma with better than ±2 µm placement accuracy with the Model 8000.

“We’ve established an excellent mutually beneficial business relationship with Palomar Technologies,” said Richard Brunsell, NxGen’s president and COO. “They have the high-end type of equipment that enables us to do quick-turn prototyping and production volumes on multichip circuits, including epoxy and eutectic die attach, and high-accuracy, deep-access wire bonding.”

India’s Contract Manufacturing to Triple in Value by 2009

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. - India’s contract-manufacturing business is expected to nearly triple in revenue over the next 5 years, presenting both opportunities and potential setbacks for the global electronics supply chain, as predicted by iSuppli Corp. EMS providers and ODMs in India will expand to $2.03 billion in 2009, rising at a 21% compound annual growth rate from $774 million in 2004, according to iSuppli. In 2005, Indian EMS/ODM revenue will grow 20.8% to hit $935 million.

Relocating electronics production to India is attractive because, like China, India has low labor costs. However, in the short term, iSuppli does not expect the Indian contract-manufacturing industry to imperil China’s central position in electronics manufacturing. India’s contract manufacturing activities mainly serve the nation’s local demand; OEMs primarily outsource their manufacturing to cater to the Indian domestic market, but export of Indian-assembled electronics does happen.

Looking beyond 2009, India could compete with Chinese providers in select products as the nation’s share of the global electronics market increases, predicts iSuppli. For OEMs, using contract-manufacturing services in India can help them penetrate the local market, even though risks may occur. Meanwhile, semiconductor suppliers are expanding their manufacturing activities in India to serve the growing contact-manufacturing industry in the nation.

EV Group to Support Nanofab Technologies at Stanford University

SCHÄRDING, AUSTRIA & STANFORD, CALIF. - EV Group has installed an EVG620 precision alignment system for nanoimprint lithography (NIL) at Stanford University’s Stanford Nanofabrication Facility (SNF). With capabilities for UV molding and micro-contact printing to realize feature sizes down to the sub-100-nm range, this new aligner will play a major part in SNF’s goal to support micro- and nanofabrication technology use in non-traditional research. A prominent resource for many MEMS and microfabrication-based research projects throughout Stanford, the SNF is also accessed by many researchers from other universities and industrial companies for MEMS and nanoimprinting R&D projects.

“We enjoy an excellent relationship with EV Group, who support our efforts in novel double-side alignment and wafer-bonding methods for research applications. We feel this relationship is key in establishing new nanoimprint lithography capabilities for our research community,” says Professor Yoshio Nishi, SNF director. “Nearly 150 individuals made use of our EVG tools over the last year.”

Kulicke & Soffa Receives Record Bonding Wire Orders

WILLOW GROVE, PA. - Kulicke & Soffa Industries (K&S) recently has received orders for a record quantity of gold wire in a single quarter. In the June quarter, tallied orders totaled over one billion feet of gold wire for wire bonding in semiconductor packaging, a 14% order quantity increase over the quarter that ended March 31, 2005. Also, VLSI Research’s June 2005 report estimates that IC unit sales have increased 9% over the same time period.

“Our top customer list is changing as we begin to add assembly service providers to our traditional IDM customer base,” comments Jack Belani, senior VP of wire bonding and corporate marketing at K&S. “This record-breaking level of orders is the result of two advances with customers: our new wire products account for some of the increase; and the remaining rise in orders is a result of customers receiving a higher level of support from K&S for their overall wire bonding needs.” “This order quantity is a major milestone for our gold wire product line,” adds Scott Kulicke, president and CEO. “While independent market-share data will not be available for several months, it is clear that our efforts at specific customers are providing some real order momentum. Increasing our gold wire shipment quantities means that product line will contribute more profit dollars to the packaging materials segment of the Company.”

Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturers Poised for $32.63B in Sales for 2005

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. - Leading semiconductor equipment manufacturers forecast that 2005 will be the third largest year to date for sales of new semiconductor equipment, according to the mid-year edition of the SEMI Capital Equipment Consensus Forecast released by SEMI, which is based on interviews conducted between late May and June 2005. Representing companies span a majority of the global semiconductor equipment industry’s total sales volume.

Following the 67.2% market expansion in 2004, the equipment market will decline 12.1% to $32.6 billion in 2005. Respondents see the market growing at a single-digit rate in 2006, resuming double-digit growth over the following 2 years to eventually reach $44.3 billion in 2008.

The forecast also indicates that final manufacturing equipment will experience the most critical declines, as respondents anticipate that the assembly and packaging equipment market will contract 26% to $1.81 billion in 2005. The market for test equipment is expected to decline about 24% to $4.85 billion this year. Wafer processing equipment, the largest product segment in dollar value, is projected to decline 9% to $23.05 billion. South Korea stands out as the only expanding regional equipment market in 2005, with growth exceeding 21%. Sales of new equipment in China and the rest-of-world market regions will decline 40% and 35%, respectively.

-Lee Mather