Automotive and SiP drive demand for traceability back through the value chain

By Paula Doe, SEMI

The fast-maturing infrastructure now enabling applications for big data and artificial intelligence means disruptive change not just at individual companies but also in data connections among companies across the microelectronics manufacturing value chain. SEMI expands its smart manufacturing program with a Smart Manufacturing Pavilion with displays and three full days of talks to address these industry-wide developments at SEMICON West, July 10-12 in San Francisco.

Autonomous autos’ demand for zero-defect systems and 100 percent traceability back to the manufacturing data for each die is driving a push to traceability across the chip sector. “Far more chips are being used by the automotive sector, and its very different requirements are driving demand for traceability,” says Tom Ho, president of BISTel America. “Our chipmaker customers are looking for traceability solutions and the trend is the same in backend packaging and assembly – automotive applications are driving the sector to traceability.”

Traceability is also driven by the growth of systems in a package as fabless chipmakers look to connect back to the packaging companies’ fault analysis labs and die interconnect history to diagnose and fix the cases where known-good die are failing in the system, adds Mike Plisinski, CEO of Rudolph Technologies. Plisinski adds that makers of consumer products like phones that can also see harsh conditions are demanding higher quality and traceability as well.

The EMS sector also must establish an architecture for traceability to collect critical manufacturing-related data and to interface with OSATs and semiconductor fabs. The reason is that EMS companies are adding traditional OSAT processes such as assembly of products with bare die and complex optics modules requiring clean rooms. “A unified sand-to-smart-phone smart manufacturing roadmap should be established,” says Dan Gamota, vice president of  Engineering and Technology Services at Jabil. “We need to identify protocols for manufacturing data communications that can be adopted across the supply chain.”

To enable smart manufacturing, vendors need to collaborate on getting their production equipment to interoperate and support factory analytics and data management systems. Source: SEMI

One big challenge, of course, is how to format this diverse data so it can be linked and used by  various supply chain stakeholders. “Smart data needs to be contextual and it needs data standards across the supply chain so it’s easy to link from the front end to the back end, follow common lot IDs front and back end, and have a way to map streaming data from sensors to a discrete lot ID,” notes Ho. New approaches to metrology, analysis and test that increasingly exploit machine learning on simulations will also be needed to help predict which die and connections that test well now may fail in the future as conditions change.

Another issue is how to securely share the needed data across companies without jeopardizing IP. “On the equipment side we collect data across customers on how the tool is running to improve the equipment,” notes Neal Callan, ASML VP Silicon Valley. “Next we need to integrate performance and reliability data that today is not as well shared.”


The other big hurdle is how to pay for data sharing. “The challenge is that the final manufacturers reap the benefit of traceability, but since they expect their suppliers to deliver good die, they don’t want to pay more for it,” notes Plisinski.  He suggests that over the next two to three years, traceability and predictive fault prevention will become the norm as the automotive sector is compelled to invest in it to assure safety. Meanwhile, fabless companies will face so much complexity in integrating different die from different suppliers in SiP that they will no longer be able to afford to simply use the cheapest supplier, potentially driving a fundamental shift in relations and division of labor among fabless chipmakers, OSATs and fabs.

Standards extend across supply chain

SEMI member committees are collaborating to build the infrastructure to enable these developments. Standards committees are updating standards for higher bandwidth data exchange and extending semiconductor-like vertical and two-way horizontal equipment communication standards to flow shops to enable assembly players to optimize and trace back results across players. The SMT/PCBA community is integrating its smart manufacturing work into SEMI standards, and the SEMI A1 standard was a key reference document in the development of the Japan Robotics Association’s Equipment Link Protocol.

Speakers addressing these issues at SEMICON West include Active Layer Parametrics, Applied  Materials, Applied Research & Photonics, ASML, Bosch Rexroth, Cimetrix, Coventor, ECI Technologies, Edwards Vacuum, Final Phase Systems, GE Digital,  Infineon, Jabil, Lam Research, Osaro, Otosense, PEER Group, Qualcomm, Rockwell Automation, Rudolph Technologies, Schneider Electric, Seagate, Siemens, Stanford University, TEL, TIBCO Software. See


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