According to a newly released report from SEMI and TechSearch International, the $18 billion semiconductor packaging materials market will undergo steady single-digit unit volume growth for many material segments through 2019, including laminate substrates, IC leadframes, underfill, and copper wire. Segments such as wafer-level packaging (WLP) dielectrics will experience stronger unit volume growth over the same timeframe. Packaging materials include laminate substrates, leadframes, bonding wire, mold compounds, underfill materials, liquid encapsulants, die attach materials, solder balls, wafer level package dielectrics, and thermal interface materials.

Packaging materials are a key enabler to increasing the functionality of thinner, smaller packages consumed in smart phones and other mobile products. Many options are currently available to meet form factor requirements for mobile products such as stacked-die chip scale package (CSP), land grid array (LGA) and fine pitch ball grid array (FBGA) packages, package-on-package (PoP), wafer-level package (WLP), Quad Flat No-lead (QFN) and other packages, using both wirebond and flip chip interconnects.

Key trends include:

  • FO-WLP is emerging as a disruptive technology, changing the demand for the types of packaging materials used in the industry
  • Need for WLP dielectric materials for multi-layer redistribution layers
  • New materials for laminate substrates and underfill to pitch decreasing pitch and bump height trends in flip chip packaging
  • Improved mold compounds for warpage control and package reliability
  • For QFN packaging, cost optimization through enhanced designs and reduced plating area; higher lead counts (routable); improved power dissipation
  • Continued growth in copper and silver wire
  • Materials and processes compatible with tighter tolerances for higher density leadframes and substrate packaging, and for compact multi-die system-in-package (SiP) configurations

Constrained industry growth and the trend towards lower-cost electronics have reshaped the packaging material supplier landscape. Changes in material sets, the emergence of new package types, and cost reduction pressures have resulted in recent consolidation in various material segments. In addition, materials consumption in some segments is declining given the changes in package form factors and the trend towards smaller, thinner packaging.

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