Looking Into the Crystal Ball

This January issue contains the first industry forecast article that Advanced Packaging has written. We invited anyone active in the industry to share their opinions as to what new products and challenges will mold the packaging industry in 2005.

First, we looked at what SEMI reported from their forecast for the global semiconductor equipment industry as a result of their bi-annual survey. The good news from SEMI is that the market for semiconductor manufacturing equipment follows a 59% growth rate this year, the second largest annual level ever recorded. The bad news is that they expect a moderate cyclic decline in 2005 to $33.49 billion. If you look at the assembly and packaging equipment portion only, changes are from $2.38B in 2004, declining to a predicted $2.04B in 2005, and increasing to $2.26B in 2006. Assembly and packaging equipment will decline faster and recover more quickly, declining 14% in 2005, growing 11% in 2006, and robustly growing at a 25% clip in 2007.

Once you’ve done the numbers, getting an accurate picture, especially in an industry as disparate as ours, rests on talking to the largest number of industry experts available. Thirty-one companies responded to our survey questions, each with their own particular slant. Most agree 2005 will show a downturn, but that it will be shorter and less dramatic than the most recent one.

There is no end of innovative ideas within our forecast article. ASAT will offer a thin arary plastic package (TAPP) and an AirQFN, a cavity structure for high-speed RF products, MEMS applications, and light-sensing devices. Honeywell, along with their joint venture partner, GEM Microelectronics, is tackling thermal issues. Datacon is opening a sales office in China to handle their latest flip chip die bonders. Hesse & Knipps is upgrading the software for their wedge bonders, and plans to expand the market for their heavy wire bonder. Amkor is focusing on high-growth areas for their outsourced semiconductor assembly and test services in areas such as SiP, stacked packaging, flip chip and wafer-level packaging, strip test and RF test. Integrating Unitive into Amkor’s strengths should make for a broader offering. Coventor is expanding their MEMS design tools with 2005 software. DuPont Electronic Technologies is developing materials for high I/O, high-power packages such as MPUs and low I/O, low-power packages like memory.

Though the industry is slowing down, everything in electronics between the chip and the system (IMAPS’ new logo) is an area bustling with creativity into 2005.

This is just a sampling of what you will find in the forecast article. To see where your company fits in, please read what these industry experts have to say.

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A prosperous New Year to all.

Gail Flower


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