SEMICON West preview: New “Meet the Experts” program

By Paula Doe, SEMI

SEMI adds a new speaker program called “Meet the Experts” at SEMICON West (July 11-13) in San Francisco this year. Complementing the more formal TechXPOTs, “Meet the Experts” is on a smaller scale, more relaxed format, with more time for discussion, and a wider variety of speakers. We’ve invited 25 diverse experts to speak on the challenges and opportunities for the semiconductor supply chain from smart automobiles and the Internet of Things, and the smarter next-generation manufacturing technology needed to enable this smart, connected future.

What does the IoT really mean for the semiconductor world?

The exciting emerging opportunities for smart connected objects ─ from cars to industrial systems ─ that are changing our lives also mean change for our semiconductor manufacturing business, suggests Tom Walsh, president of Tokyo Electron NEXX, who will speak on the issue in the new Meet the Experts program at SEMICON West on July 12. “These new applications require many and various new materials and packaging solutions,” he says. “But the technical challenges are not as big as the economic ones —these automotive and consumer products need equipment that is cheaper than the typical advanced front end tools, and fewer tools will be required to manufacture some of the smaller die.” That means more standardized baselines platforms for packaging, and more options for creative solutions to retrofit existing tools for new applications. “Maybe we can remove some unneeded features — sort of like taking out the heated seats,” he quips, to meet a specific technical need at lower cost.

The wildcard for this new reality is augmented reality headsets. “If eye-glasses come to replace the mobile phone as consumers’ main device, that changes the world,” he notes.

Emerging industrial applications for virtual reality

In the past year the automotive industry has increasingly come to rely on virtual reality for mockups and design reviews to save the time and cost involved in making clay models, and the technology is also finding use in employee training and the semiconductor supply chain, notes David Chang, HTC director of Corporate Development and Partnerships, another speaker in the SEMICON West “Meet the Experts” program. “We’re starting to see some users in the semiconductor industry use VR for exposition displays,” he says, noting the appeal of the more immersive working demonstrations of equipment without the cost and limitations of bring actual equipment to a show. “Virtual reality isn’t just for gaming any more, but for serious business,” he contends. HTC will be demonstrating automotive and manufacturing applications of virtual reality in the Smart Journey area at SEMICON West.

Chang says the 2Kbit resolution and 90 frames/second refresh of the HTC VIVE system is now close to that of human vision, and the lighthouse base-station system that tracks the position and orientation of the head adjusts appropriately for a realistic view that makes the system sufficiently precise for serious industrial applications. It integrates with Dassault Système’s CATiA CAD software so designers can physically view their designs without extra effort.

New data base tracks packaging technologies across the changing OSAT sector

As the OSAT industry matures, the way we do packaging and assembly is changing dramatically, as advanced packaging moves more to a wafer-level technology in a more fab-like environment, and much of the growth moves to China, notes Jan Vardaman, president of TechSearch International, speaking in the Advanced Packaging program.  She’ll introduce the new Worldwide OSAT Manufacturing Site Database, developed by SEMI and TechSearch, which tracks what types of packages are made in which facilities of 120 OSATs worldwide. Based on two years of factory visits and personal interviews, this detailed analysis allows fabless companies to easily see the full options for the packaging and assembly technologies they need, and equipment and materials suppliers to quickly see the needs of customers worldwide. “I think this is one of the greatest services that SEMI can offer its audience, says Vardaman. “It will save people a huge amount of time.”

Big changes from artificial intelligence

A number of other speakers at SEMICON West will focus on the use of data analytics, machine learning, and other types of AI in enabling the emerging generation of both semiconductor applications and semiconductor manufacturing. GE Global Research Lead Machine learning researcher Weina Ge, Ericsson Research director of IoT & Analytics Zsolt Parnaki, and NVIDIA technical marketing lead Tim Wong will cover automotive and IoT applications, while Coventor CTO David Fried, Nanotronics CRO Justin Stanwix, Motivo Data Analytics CTO Luigi Capodieci, and Siemens director, Industry Solutions, PLM Software, Tim Hewitt will address uses in semiconductor manufacturing.

Speakers from Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Multibeam Corp, NeoSpectra, NXP, Quarnergy Systems, SAE, Synopsis, andYole Développement are also talking on automotive and IoT technologies. ASE, ASM Pacific Technology, Edwards Vacuum, EV Group, SPTS, and the Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap will cover next generation IC process and packaging issues.

These SEMICON West 2017 programs, included in the basic Expo Only pass, run all day within the Smart Journey demonstration area in West Hall, with its virtual and augmented reality experiences which highlight the smart, connected future.


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