In the News

Intel to Build 300-mm Wafer Factory in Arizona

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. – Intel Corp. plans to build a new 300-mm wafer fabrication facility at its Chandler, Ariz. site, and the $3 billion project’s construction is set to begin immediately. Designated Fab 32, the new factory will begin microprocessor production in late 2007 on 45-nm process technology. “This investment positions our manufacturing network for future growth to support our platform initiatives, and will give us additional supply flexibility across a range of products,” states Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO. Once completed, Fab 32 will become Intel’s sixth 300-mm wafer facility, and the structure will be about 1 million sq. ft. – 184,000 sq. ft. of which will be cleanroom space.

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300-mm wafer manufacturing increases lower-cost semiconductor production ability when compared to 200-mm wafers. Total silicon surface area of a 300-mm wafer is 225%, or more than twice that of a 200-mm wafer, and the number of printed die increases to 240%. Larger wafers lower production cost per chip while eliminating overall use of resources – 300-mm wafer manufacturing will use 40% less energy and water per chip than a 200-mm wafer factory.

Intel also plans to invest $105 million to convert an existing, inactive wafer fab in New Mexico to a component temporary test facility. The project will provide additional test capacity to the company’s factory network for the next 2 years, resulting in an additional 300 jobs at the New Mexico site during that time.

SEMI Appoints New Board Chair, Board Member

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – SEMI has appointed Ed Segal, senior advisor to Metron Technology, as chairman of SEMI’s International Board of Directors. Segal succeeds Tetsuro (Terry) Higashi, chairman and CEO of Tokyo Electron Ltd., who served as chairman for the past year. Also appointed as the Board’s newest member is Michael Splinter, president and CEO of Applied Materials. Archie Hwang, chairman and CEO of Hermes Epitek, succeeds Segal as vice chairman of the board.

Segal served as CEO of Metron from July 1995 until its acquisition by Applied Materials in December 2004. Prior to joining Metron, he served as president and CEO of Transpacific Technology Corp., a company he founded in 1982, which later merged with Metron. “SEMI is a unique global trade organization serving the semiconductor equipment and materials industry. In a period when the needs of members are shifting, I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve as chairman of the organization,” says Segal.

SMT China International Conference Call for Papers

SHANGHAI, CHINA – PennWell and China Electronics Appliance Corporation (CEAC) will sponsor the 2005 SMT China International Conference on “Emerging Technologies and Lead-free Challenges,” November 21-22, 2005. This 3rd annual conference will take place at the Shanghai International Convention Center, Shanghai, China, in conjunction with the CEAC’s 66th China Electronic Fair (CEF). SMT and SMT China magazines, sister publications to Advanced Packaging, announce a call for papers for this conference on topics such as high-density, fine-pitch placement; equipment modular design; process optimization programming; 0201 and 01005 components; chip scale, BGA, flip chip, and 3-D interconnection; nanotechnology; and MEMS; as well as several other SMT, emerging technology, and modern assembly topics.

Papers from environmental managers and technical experts are sought on relevant subjects. For a complete list of topics, and for the submission form, please visit Abstracts should be 300 words in length and include an attached abstract submission form and a brief biography. The deadline for abstract submission is September 25, 2005. Presenters will be allotted 40-minute time slots for their presentation and discussion. Simultaneous Mandarin/English interpretation will be provided. Some papers may be grouped together in a forum or panel discussion. Speakers will receive discounted admission to the conference, including a copy of proceedings, and any refreshments and luncheon. For more information on the event, please e-mail Gail Flower at [email protected]; or Charlie Zeng at [email protected].

News from SEMICON West

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – Many companies were eager to share their technology and business news with the editors at Advanced Packaging. Here is some of what we saw:

Test sockets. Kulicke & Soffa (K&S) introduced a new test socket technology last year that replaces traditional spring-loaded pins with a photolithography-based process. Flexible metal leads are used as the contacts, providing low contact force to minimize pad or bump damage. Oded Lendner, senior VP of Package Test, explained that K&S now has a product based on this technology, called Quatrix, which is being tested by customers and is expected to go into production at the end of the year. Contactor life has been tested up to 2.5 million cycles, and will be specified at one million cycles for production. Standard metallization is Au over Ni, with a Pd-based alloy as an option for probing lead-free solder bumps. In an effort to improve time-to-market for their standard products, K&S introduced web-based socket selection software that enables customers to input specifications for BGA test sockets and receive a detailed footprint diagram and quote within 24 hours. Gold Technologies has a new product for testing lead-free packages that is based on their spring-loaded Au-plated probes, but includes a proprietary coating on the pins, as well as higher spring force. They have also introduced a socket lid design that can accommodate a range of package heights.

Wafer Dicing. Laser dicing technologies are coming to the forefront. One new player in the semiconductor space will be New Wave Research. They introduced a compact laser scribing system for 2- and 3-in. sapphire wafers six months ago, which is now used for high-volume production by customers in the LED market. A new system for silicon wafer dicing that can accommodate up to 12-in. wafers is in development and expected to be released in a little over a year. Synova was showcasing their water jet-based laser system. Guiding the laser beam down a 25- to 50-µm-wide water jet allows a much larger working distance than conventional laser dicing methods, and the water automatically cools the area being cut, eliminating the heat-affected zone. CEO Bernold Richerzhagen noted that customers are using the system to cut Si, GaAs, and SiC wafers, as well as to remove edge damage from thinned wafers after backgrinding. Synova’s next focus will be on package dicing, where the variety of materials to be cut poses many challenges.

Materials. Honeywell discussed their wafer-thinning materials, announced in April as the first new product line from their Chandler, Ariz. manufacturing facility. By using a bulk etch, a stress relief etch, and a texture etch to enhance adhesion, they are able to completely replace backgrinding and the wafer damage that goes along with it.

Polysciences, Inc. has been manufacturing encapsulants and adhesives for OEM customers for decades, but this is the first year they exhibited at SEMICON. One of their products is an encapsulant that is dispensed in a fine line over wire bonds to lock the wires in place. It effectively halves the length of the long wires used in stacked packages. The encapsulant flows down to underlying wires, but does not touch the substrate. Standard overmolding materials and processes can then be used with minimal risk of wire sweep.

China or Mexico? Manufacturing in China has been a hot topic in recent years, with much of the emphasis on reducing manufacturing costs. Keynote speaker Tien Wu, President of ASE Americas & Europe, gave an interesting viewpoint. He said, “Why you want to go to China [is] to rule the world,” not to save 20%, but to be well-positioned to sell products to the Chinese. He also noted that the emergence of China could be considered as a “black hole” draining resources from the U.S. or as a new growth engine driving the semiconductor industry. Tien’s advice to companies considering expanding into China is not to go ahead if their only reason is to trim labor costs. Labor costs are rising in China, as Scott Kulicke noted during K&S’s Press Luncheon. High employee turnover, as much as 25%, is a problem, and some technical and managerial expertise is not available in China. Hiring workers from Taiwan and Singapore to fill the gaps increases costs. Still, K&S continues to shift more of its manufacturing to China, and Kulicke said that 90% of its wire bonder sales are to Asian customers.

Ron Jones, co-founder of Silicon Border, is looking to greatly expand manufacturing in Mexico and recently announced groundbreaking on a billion-dollar industrial and educational complex in Mexicali, Mexico, just south of the U.S. border. Silicon Border has hired two engineering firms, one American and one Mexican, to design and build the infrastructure and provide support to tenants building manufacturing facilities. Jones is in negotiations with potential tenants – IDMs from the U.S., Europe, and Asia – and expects to sign letters of intent by this fall. The long-term goal is to have manufacturing facilities covering all steps of semiconductor fabrication and assembly, providing a complete supply chain in North America. If the first tenants are successful, it is likely more will come and make Silicon Border a viable alternative to China.


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