Conspicuous Collaboration


At SEMICON West this year, steps towards efficiency, collaboration, and relationship-building were evident everywhere. Companies sent one piece of equipment instead of four; had booths one-level high instead of two; increased their ability to communicate with video connected to satellite R&D labs; co-sponsored TechXPOTS in lieu of exhibiting; and hosted social gatherings rather than press conferences to showcase their new equipment. Companies displayed the equipment from other firms to show how their subsystems could be incorporated in a larger system. If the impetus was to control costs, the result was cooperation on a grand scale.

Collaborative efforts often start inside a company. For instance, since PennWell is a fairly large publisher, we were able to collaboratively use editors from both Advanced Packaging and Solid State Technology to cover the show online through the e-Show Daily Report: Live from SEMICON West, along with our respective e-newsletters and online news. Our Advanced Packaging Awards on July 18 at the MOMA in San Francisco were held just before the Loomis Group party for show attendees, which we co-sponsored. Both magazines created an Attendee’s Choice Awards program for front-end and final assembly. We took photos at winner’s booths and shocked their whole crew in a “live” show event. We worked with Kulicke & Soffa to present the 2nd annual Interconnect Symposium, an effort between friends to give back to the industry.

While we were at the show, IBM’s first controlled collapse chip connection new process (C4NP) production line in East Fishkill, NY, had ramped up lead-free solder bump production. This C4NP manufacturing line, supplied by SUSS MicroTec, makes up the mold-fill, inspection, and transfer steps. This is another successful collaborative development that should benefit the industry.

We learned how 3D chip packaging with through-silicon vias (TSVs) will transform the industry over the next 3-5 years, based on presentations and discussions at SEMICON West. TSVs could enable compact packaging with increased performance. The methods for stacking and interconnecting involved cooperative steps between many companies.

During the show, more electronics cooperation came to our attention. For instance, Unovis Solutions (Binghamton, NY) signed a strategic partnership with baumann Automation (Amberg, Germany) to expand its assembly solutions and global support to semiconductor, automotive, and telecommunications assembly customers. Unovis provides a U.S. base for the partnership, and both companies are aggressively expanding infrastructure in Asia to provide automated assembly solutions for Asia-based manufacturers. With Germany as a base, baumann will provide application-specific automation solutions based on standard platforms.

As Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” When companies collaborate with each giving, trust develops, costs for R&D go down, and profits grow.

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Gail Flower