Critical Assembly & Test Issues Addressed by Experts at Malaysia Forum

Malaysia Forum

Critical Assembly & Test Issues Addressed by Experts at Malaysia Forum

The first-ever SEMI Malaysia Forum held on November 20 was sold out. The event was themed "Technology Innovation in Assembly & Test” which attracted   more than 200 attendees from over 50 companies. Eighteeen speakers presented, including representatives from MIDA, GfK, SEMI, Equvo, ASM Technology, LTX-Credence, ITE, Kulicke & Soffa, SPT Asia, Kester, ASE Electronics, Form Factor, SEMIgear, and TEL.

Bettina Weiss, VP of Business Development at SEMI, discussed the SEMI Market Update and Outlook.  Semiconductor revenue has been flat over the past few years, even as some segments are growing at much faster rates, while traditional products are in decline. While this has muted growth, she stated that some beneficiaries of the industry’s evolution include Fabless and outsource manufacturers (including foundries).  2014 is expected to be better and driven by mobile applications.

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Fab investment will see positive growth in 2014. Foundries and NAND Flash continue to be the two driving forces of investment in 2014. After record investment and capacity additions, LED investment is down this year and but new projects are on the horizon for 2014, as the industry manages to sort through its current state of overcapacity. Weiss reported that equipment market is more volatile than the materials market.  However, SEMI expects both markets to register gains next year, with the semiconductor materials market reaching $50 billion in 2014. Taiwan now represents the largest fab materials market, while Southeast Asia represents the largest packaging materials market. Mobile applications are driving tremendous growth in Wafer Level Packaging ad Flip Chip, which are also increasing the proportion of packaging materials in the overall semiconductor materials market. For  SEMI market information, visit:

Malaysia ForumMike Frazier, Market Development manager at LTX-Credence, discussed “What will Drive the ATE Market beyond 2013?” Frazier noted that the dozens of ATE companies in the 1990’s are now down to three major suppliers. The ATE attach rate is beginning to stabilize and the foundry share of total semiconductor industry capital spending continues to increase. Meanwhile, the outsource manufacturing trend continues.

In terms of market drivers impact on Test, Frazier talked about how the ATE-focused market drivers have changed. Past drivers — like digital accuracy (EPA), higher performance instruments for at-speed test, and scalable infrastructure — are history, while new drivers have emerged: DFT enabled to increase test coverage and lower test cost, RF integration, and multi-site test.  He also discussed the semiconductor market effects on ATE (see LTX-Credence chart).

Malaysia Forum

Semiconductor market effects on ATE include automotive and high-end consumer products driving new quality standards which in turn impact ATE, as the industry embraces DFT strategies, deals with exponential growth in data collection for ATE, and set limits dynamically regarding test flow. In addition, ubiquitous RF also impacts ATE.

Malaysia ForumBen Eldridge, CTO of Form Factor, presented on “2.5/3D Test Challenges and Solutions,” focusing on the rapid recent adoption of advanced packaging, specifically copper pillar and C4 flipchip. Driven by mobile cost and performance roadmaps, customers rely on “More than More” advances — which presents significant challenges for wafer test and probe. Eldridge looked at wafer probing challenges and stressed that Cu pillars will surpass solder bumping by 2014.  Cu Pillar is expected to grow at CAGR (2010-18) of 35 percent, driven by:

  • CMOS 28nm IC (and beyond), including App Processors, Base Band for mobile phones
  • Next generation of DDR memories (DDR3 and DDR4)
  • 3D/2.5D interposer using CuP (ubumping)

By 2014, more than 50 percent of bumped wafers for flip-chip will be Cu Pillars. See below Yole chart.

Malaysia Forum

Malaysia ForumMoses Chee, director at ASE Group,
discussed the ”Critical Role of OSAT in the Changing Semiconductor Industry.” He stressed that market requirements today is driven by mobile and wireless communication, focused on performance, cost and time-to-market.  As the price of gold increases, wire bond interconnect emerges as a cheaper packaging solution especially for low-end packages and power devices. Now more than 60 percent of the bonders are now copper wire bonded. Chee discussed the transition from Gold to Copper wire (see below ASE chart).


Malaysia Forum

Nelson WongNelson Wong, VP at Kulicke & Soffa, presented on “Pushing the Wire Bonding Boundary.”  Wong stated that wire bonding is a mature technology, process close to 70 years old and is still the most popular interconnect technology. However, with the increasing demand for performance, how long will wire bonding last? Faster and more powerful processing to enable mobile devices requires more and more features per chip — creating a big challenge to wire bonding. 

While flip chip and other interconnect technologies are alternate solutions, Wong said, wire bonding technology (including recent advances in Cu wire bonding) has improved significantly and has made bonding advanced nodes a reality. The cost of Cu wire bonding is continuously reduced, and 28nm wire bonding has been successful in high-volume production. Wire bonding for 20nm and below is entirely possible with the latest technology is currently under development.

Kai Fai Ng, president, SEMI Southeast Asia, believes that the Southeast Asia region plays a vital role in the assembly and test of semiconductor devices and that the overwhelming response to the SEMI Malaysia Forum is due to the 70+ global and domestic packaging and test companies calling Malaysia home.

The SEMI Malaysia Forum was endorsed by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI), the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and the Penang Foundry & Engineering Industries Association. 

Test, assembly and packaging challenges will be further addressed at the upcoming SEMICON Singapore 2014 ( to be held April 23-25 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center.  Southeast Asia microelectronics industry stakeholders are encouraged to book their participation early.

December 3, 2013