14th Electronic Circuits World Convention
The 14th Electronic Circuits World Convention (ECWC14) got started in Seoul to the usual fanfare after the opening ceremonies of the KPCA 2017 Show. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted by KPCA’s Jung Bong Hong and the representatives of the other WECC members: WECC Secretary General Rex Rozario; Jin Zhangi (CPCA); Alun Morgan (EIPC); Vikram Desai (Electronic Industries Association of India); Canice Chung (Hong Kong PCA); David Bergman (IPC); Kushal Patel (IPCA); Toshifumi Kobayashi (JPCA), and Rich Wu (TPCA). The event took place in the KINTEX Gyeonggi-do Exhibition Center, a large venue with a mall on the first floor (Figure 1).
Figure 1: The ribbon-cutting ceremony opening ECWC14 in Seoul, Korea.
Six papers were selected by the ECWC14 Technical Committee. The six winners were rewarded with prizes (Figure 2). These papers are highlighted in the Program with an “AP.” One paper was “Sharing Experience in Embedding of Active and Passive Components in Organic PCBs for More Reliability and Miniaturization,” by Thomas Hofmann, of Hofmann Leiterplatten GMBH. The paper was just published in the June 2017 issue of The PCB Magazine.
Other Notable Papers
Twenty-one papers were cancelled at the last moment because the authors from China could not get exit visas and were unable to attend the conference to deliver their papers. These papers were converted to posters (a total of 23) and a summary was available to attendees. The papers were included in the proceedings.
Figure 2: The six authors receive their “Best Paper” awards at the welcoming reception at ECWC14. (Courtesy of KPCA)
“Packaging Technology in 2017 and Beyond,” Young Chul Park, Amkor Technology Korea.
The first keynote was from the president of Amkor Technology Korea, who highlighted the main areas of top technology trends: Industry 4.0; artificial intelligence (AI); Internet of Things (IoT); data centers; and 5G telecommunications. Industry has five big things to meet requirements for these trends:
- Mobility—The industry demand is for smaller form factors with more integration including thinner, flexible and foldable capability, all at a lower cost. Current thickness of LCD displays is 240 µm.
- IoT—The industry demands are for smaller form factor with better performance and better reliability. These devices will be produced in extremely high volumes and will be a major user of the 5G millimeter wave-length (30 to 300 GHz) wireless infrastructure. Advanced design rules will be employed, as well as advanced structures of embedding while using low-loss materials with superior high-speed foils and treatments.
- Automotive—The industry demand is for zero defects and perfect reliability! The life of an auto is at least 15 years or more, so these assemblies require much longer operation times require extremely high quality and reliability, even when operating down to -40°C or as high as 155°C in high-humidity environments.
- HPC—The industry demand is for performance 100,000 times greater than the single PC. This generates an enormous need for power and for cooling all the heat generated. The Facebook data center was built on the edge of the Arctic Circle in Lulea, Sweden.
- Memory—The industry demand is for high bandwidth performance in the 480 GB per sec. Range. Various operating condition will require hybrid packaging methodologies with thin PKG heights, at lower cosummation: “Many global electronic equipment volume markets (except automotive, medical & SEMI equipment) have been stagnant; emerging new products are not yet large. 2016 closed optimistically with seasonally strong semiconductor shipments and positive leading indicators. Copper foil shortages are impacting PCB growth.”
These conclusions are illustrated in Figure 3, showing the world’s electronic equipment monthly shipments. Walt documented the “maturing” of the PC platforms but expounded on future volume markets like: smart cars, 5G handsets and infrastructure, the IoT, drones, wearables and automation/robotic applications. These all call for more semiconductors of microprocessors, memory and communications chips. (All amounts are in US dollars.)
Figure 3: World electronic equipment monthly shipments, converted at fluctuating exchange rates. (Source: Custer Consulting Group.)
Figure 4 shows the IC end-use markets and growth rates to 2020. Self-driving cars may reach 10 million by 2020. The 5G telecom market is expected to grow to $250B by 2015. This will start with Korea Telecom using 5G for the 2018 Winter Olympics. IoT has $16B worth of installed devices in 2016, and this is expected to grow to $200B by 2023, with nearly 75 billion devices connected by 2020. In the same vein, Figure 5 shows the estimates of wearable devices from 2015 to 2017, in millions. In 2016, there were 17,600 robots in factories (most related to automobiles), 5,100 in electronics assembly and 1,900 in metal fab/foundries. The growth of PCBs is less certain due to the need for more integrated packaging strategies between the chips and the board.
Figure 4: IC end-use systems markets ($B) and growth rates. (Source: IC Insights 12/16.)
Figure 5: Wearable devices 2015–2017 million of devices. (Source: Custer Consulting Group.)
“Fan-Out Wafer-Level Packaging and 3D Packaging,” John Lau, ASM Pacific Technology
John Lau was invited to do a four-hour tutorial on the latest advances and trends in semiconductor packaging technologies. I worked with John at HP Labs in the early 70s. He is a prolific author with 450 papers published and 18 books on 3D MEMS and IC integration packaging.
This tutorial included fan-out/in wafer /panel-level packaging (FOW/PLP), 3D IC Integration with TSVs, 2.5D IC integration/TSV-less interposers. The detailed descriptions of these packages included:
- Fan-in wafer-level chip scale packaging: used mainly for ICs with low pin-counts
- Fan-out waver level packaging: used with redistribution layers (RDL) to fan-out the circuitry beyond the chip edge without a lead-frame or substrate. There are three formations: Chip-First (Die-Up) also called eWLB (used for Apple’s A10 processor and by Samsung for the AP); Chip-First (Die-Down); Chip-Last (RDL-First); and Chip-First (RDL-First). Used for portables, mobile, and wearable products like baseband, RF switch/transceiver, PMIC, audio codec, MCU, and RF radar)
- Materials review like molding, RDL dielectrics, adhesives, conductors and sealants
- Internet of Things (IoTs)—priorities of cost, ultra-low power, small form factor and low heat dissipation
- Wafer-level system-in-package versus panel-level system-in-packages; WLSIP is a cost-effective way to build low-cost SIPs; PLSIP can increase throughput
- Memory chip stacking with TSV— used for memory capacity, low power consumption and wide bandwidth for high performance graphics, fast computations, MEMs, acoustic resonators, accelerometers and opto-electronics
- Package substrates for flip chips—TSMC/Xilinx’s CoWoS, Xilinx/SPIL’s TSV-less SLIT, SPIL/Xilinx’s TSV-less NTI, Amkor’s TSV-less SLIM, Intel’s TSV-less EMIB, ITRI’s TSV-less TSH, Shinko’s TSV-less i-THOP, Cisco’s/Samsung’s TSV-less organic interposer, Statschippac’s TSV-less FOFC-eWLP, ASE’s TSV-less FOCoS, Mediatek’s TSV-less RDLs by FOWLP and Sony’s TSV-less CIS.
“Fan-out Packaging Innovations for Future,” Benson Lin, MediaTek
Benson Lin opened by inventorying some of the upcoming challenges in the future: AI, gaming trends, virtual reality (VR), mobile devices, and automotive applications. These will all require higher performance advanced packaging characterized by: competitive costs, functional integration, more memory bandwidth and thinner, smaller substrates. Cost will continue to be king, as WL-Fan Out + RDL + TSV evolve. The challenges for WL packaging will be moving from wafers to panels, replacing bumps with TSVs, integrating multiple dies on the substrate, thinning dies and substrates with RDL, and meeting the density challenges to sub-micron by 2020 (Figure 6). The dielectric of the panel is unknown at this time.
Figure 6: The RDL on larger panels is the challenge that will determine costs for future packaging.
“Updated FOWLP Development,” Shuzo Akejima, Storage & Electronic Devices Company, Toshiba
Fan-out wafer level package (FO-WLP) has become the favorite for next-generation products like Apple’s A-10 PA that uses TSMC’s FOWLP (InFO). This invited talk was on further details of the FOWLP technology:
- Description of the Apple A10 package
- Market size of approx. $6B, with materials being approximately $2.4B
- Future of TSMC’s InFO process vs. competing eWLP processes
- Issues with eWLP and the 12” wafer RDL. FOWLP evolution (Figure 7) and market growth for application processors like A10 to $7.6B by 2024
- Move to big panel mass production to meet needs of IoT, wearables and mobile; half the packages in smartphones are WLP (Figure 8).
Figure 7: FOWLP drew plenty of attention.
Figure 8: FOWLP markets, products, present and future packages. (Source: Toshiba)
“Four Essential Skills that Provided my Success in PCBs,” Happy Holden, I-Connect007
Four of the 25 “Essential Skills” featured in my upcoming free e-Book, to be published by I-Connect007, were covered:
- Problem Solving—one of the most important of skills for the process engineer, there are five main processes: TQC’s P-D-C-A; PI–PA Tools; the 8D Plan; the 7-Step Solution; and my favorite, Kepner-Tragoe Action Sequences (KT) (Figure 9).
- Design of Experiments—an essential skill that every process engineer needs to master problem solving and new process development. The most effective experimental tool and one that may take a lifetime to master all its intricacies. A free statistical tool box (the Engineering Statistical Handbook and s/w: DATAPLOT) are available for download here (Figure 10)
- Figure of Merit—the importance of metrics or measures of performance in problem solving and continuous improvement requires a consensus approach to determining new measures. I outline this unique process in the paper
- CIM/Automation Strategies—computer-integrated-manufacturing (CIM) and the new buzzword, Industry 4.0, require an automation planning methodology. I have defined a process to plan these strategies in an organized and cost efficient manner. Numerous examples were given for printed circuit fabrication including the most automated and newest PCB fab in the world (Figures 11 and 12).
Figure 9: KT action sequences. (Source: Happy Holden.)
Figure 10: Selecting the right statistical tool. (Source: the NIST Engineering Statistics Handbook.)
Figure 11: Automation strategy and methodology. (Source: Happy Holden.)
Figure 12: PCB fab automation software interactions. (Source: Happy Holden.)
“FPC Market and Related Technology Trend,” Hirofumi Matsumoto, Nippon Mektron
Nippon Mektron is considered to be the largest printed circuit fabricator in 2015, with ZenDing Technology a close rival. This invited talk highlighted the flex circuit segment of the PCB market:
- FPC market trends: The FPC market has grown by an average of 6.5% to $15.4B in 2015. It is expected to slow to 1.5% over the next seven years to $17.7B in 2022. Of that amount, $4.98B will be FPC assembly.
- FPC primary market and future markets: The mix has changed. In 2000, the applications were: mobile phone—22%, mobile camera—11%, hard discs—24%, digital audio—17%, packaging—13%, LCDS—5%, vehicle—4%, and optical—2%. In 2014, the distribution was: cellular phones—51%, LCD for phones—9%, camera for phones—4%, HDD—10%, automotive—9% computers—6%, cameras—6%, wearables—1% and other—4%
- Smartphone market and related FPC technologies (Figure 13): 17 different kinds of FPCs go into the smartphone and shipments exceeded 1.5 billion sets in 2016, growing to 1.84 billion by 2020 (Figure 14).
- Future FPC markets: The smartphone will continue to grow for medical, emergency, and other social network needs. Other growing markets will be automotive, virtual reality, drones, and IoT/M2M
- Wearable, 5G and IoT markets: These growing markets will demand new materials better suited to their performance and environment. Washable materials, ultra-high-speed films like LCP (30-300 GHz), and disposable film or harsh environment films.
Figure 13: Smartphone growth (updated 2016). (Source: Matsumoto.)
Figure 14: Smartphone flexible display trend. (Source: Matsumoto.)
“Latest Trends on Heterogeneous Integration,” Henry Utsunomiya, Interconnection Technologies
Henry Utsunomiya is noted for his innovative ideas. This presentation was about semiconductor packaging trends and consisted of four parts:
Background and Motivation—data quantity is increasing exponentially, from 12 zetabytes in 2016 to 40 zetabytes by 2025, system trends in performance increasing exponentially also, while Moore’s Law is coming to an end. As wafer costs rise due to process complexity and yield. Only four companies can provide the most advanced technology: TSMC, Global Foundries, Intel and Samsung
Ending of CMOS—it is projected that semiconductor scaling will end by around 2020
More than Moore (heterogeneous integration)—process scaling will stop supporting diverse functionalities on a single die, instead for cost reasons, die will want to break into specialized components to maximize the value of new and existing process nodes. 3D and die stacking on interposers will generate the best prices for performance (Figure 15)
Summary—high performance will be wafer level packaging while lowest cost and size will be panel level packaging. The next generation of substrate technologies will be (Figure 16):
- Extensions of buildup substrates
- Thin film interposer plus buildup substrate
- Glass substrates
- Rough pitch silicon interposer
- Fine pitch silicon interposer
Figure 15: Next-generation substrate technology comparison. (Source: JPCA 2015 Roadmap and H. Utsunomiya.)
Figure 16: Substrate for mobile computing trends. (Source: Qualcomm, Mod by H. Utsunomiya.)
The closing was a solemn affair, with only about 20 of us left. Although the conference was well-planned, the unexpected Korean Peninsular tensions led many to leave the show early or avoid coming altogether. The WECC World Conference was officially closed and turned over to the next group to host the conference in 2020, Hong Kong PCA.
The KPCA show had a good first-day attendance. But then the aisles thinned out over the next two days.
Figures 17 and 18 show an overview of the KPCA Exhibition.
Figures 17 and 18: KPCA exhibition held in conjunction with ECWC14.
The Korean PCB Industry
The KPCA Bulletin on ECWC carried an overview of the Korean PCB Industry. Figures 19 through 22 show that overview.
Happy Holden is the technical editor for I-Connect007. He has been involved in PCB design and manufacturing since 1970.