Getting More Creative

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This month I did quite a bit of traveling, while getting to know the readers and advertisers in Advanced Packaging a little better by face-to-face visits. It started off a little rocky when the marketing rep suddenly became ill and departed in a rush, leaving me without a map in a rental car.

I grabbed the first bit of guidance I could: the GPS system built into the rental car. The next stop was already loaded into its system, so I followed the blinking arrow. When I made a mistake, it said, “Proceed to the next available intersection and make a U turn, if allowed.” The voice alone caused me to jump. But by the end of the trip, I had gotten used to the turn warnings, the voices, the arrows and how to program each stop. In California traffic, this is the best navigation system. Besides a few honks, I didn't miss a stop. Why isn't this the killer application that electronics needs?

Forced to survive in rough waters, I thought about how the economic environment has affected each company. Each has approached the market a little differently. Honeywell supplies everything — from layer one to package done — as their motto proclaims. One thing that it has offered since 1999 is a Semiconductor Technology and Research Center (Star Center), a low-k integration facility in Sunnyvale, where customers can use the Class 1 cleanroom to help deliver new products with low development costs.

ASE offers design-manufacturing services for IC packaging, substrates, testing and systems product. Again, by offering a complete solution, they can fill in any gap in customer expertise and partner closer with clients. They're also building or expanding plants in low-cost locations: Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea and China.

ChipPAC Inc. provides semiconductor assembly and test and lots of services to their customers. They have found that customers want products tested by the assembler. By matching the technology demands of customers for more power, portable products, “smarter” die and advanced package types, the company has managed to leverage their position. They're also expanding in China.

Metcal's new array package rework system, the APR-5000, makes accurate placement easier. YESTech Inc. offers AOI and X-ray systems at lower cost through customization. GE Global Electronics gives OEMs and EMS providers financial assistance for purchasing and leasing of new or almost new assembly, test and inspection equipment. Tamura Kaken has lead-free solder paste and specialized chemistries. Asymtek reduced the cost of reliable paste and adhesive dispensers. Palomar Technologies automates the assembly of optoelectronic packages.

At every stop in California, I was amazed by the ability to innovate and create even in a down market. What an industry.

Gail Flower


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