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my country's PCB Industry and Advanced Packaging
2021-06-22
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  The emerging issue of IC Substrate


  Many senior analysts in the semiconductor manufacturing field have related the recent wave of price increases in packaging substrates and PCBs to demonstrate that the shortage of raw materials has caused PCB prices to rise, and packaging substrates are also out of stock, which in turn causes the entire chip packaging process to be affected. The judgment is quite reasonable. After all, the most prominent manifestation of this phenomenon is the rise in global copper prices, and copper is the most common conductor material for PCBs. According to a report by the Financial Times at the end of February, the price of industrial metal copper rose to US$9,000 per ton for the first time in 10 years. The copper market is experiencing the largest supply shortage in 10 years (327,000 tons). Dominoes extend to the raw materials for packaging substrates. Out of stock, especially the market application of copper clad laminate (CCL).

  The global PCB production capacity is gradually shifting to mainland China and is almost synchronized with the expansion of the communications industry. The construction of 5G base stations and data centers not only provides a broad application scenario for PCB hardware, but also increases the trial and error space for new technological innovations. 5G base station antennas It needs to be arranged on the PCB for a while, and the PCB is used as the carrier to connect with the circuit. The scale effect also dilutes the cost of the PCB.

  Talking about the shortage of car chips


  Since the second half of last year, the crisis of automotive chip shortage has begun to start from the beginning of this year. Many industry analysts have been inconsistent when predicting the situation. For example, the American Semiconductor Association (SIA) has been interviewed by the "Jiwei Interview" column. ) Jimmy Goodrich, vice president of global policy, believes that by May and June, many automakers can breathe a sigh of relief. Another interviewee in the "Jiwei Interview", the German (SNV) think tank "Technology and Geopolitics" department Director Jan-Peter Kleinhans believes that the crisis will continue until the second half of the year. This interesting space challenge reflects the different footholds of two senior industry experts in the United States and Europe in analyzing problems, and the different reference systems for simulating events. The results of the inference will also vary greatly.

  But in any case, the global chip supply and demand disease diagnoses represented by the two reached a firm consensus that this "man-made disaster" can be blamed for last year's new crown virus epidemic, which disrupted the normality of the entire semiconductor industry chain. Running. In addition, we can also sort out a few clearer problem consciousness lines for this problem:

  1, In the second half of last year, the global economy gradually recovered and rebounded, coupled with the concentrated emergence of application scenarios such as "working at home", which caused a surge in chip consumption for electronic consumer products such as mobile phones, PCs, and game consoles, which squeezed the supply of automotive chips from foundries. The cargo quota has triggered a big discussion in the industry on the internal profit game of the chip market segment;

  2, Trump’s ruling team’s irrational suppression of Chinese high-tech companies and the introduction of a series of bans forced Huawei to plan ahead and hoard chips in advance, triggering the domino effect of stockpiling by major chip manufacturers, according to the Wall Street Journal. According to the commentator, Huawei’s hoarding of goods is the same as everyone's toilet paper at the beginning of the epidemic. Panic spreads and disrupts the normal delivery rhythm of chip foundries, laying the groundwork for the shortage of automotive chips;

  3, that is, both the automobile manufacturing industry chain and the chip manufacturing industry chain have complex upstream and downstream interest groups, and the increasingly fine division of labor constitutes an information island in a certain manufacturing link. Manufacturing and sales are independent, and there are serious cracks in the upstream and downstream docking. As a result, the judgment of the parts suppliers on the crisis has not been synchronized with that of many first-tier manufacturers. The mutual accusations between Volkswagen, Bosch and Continental are proof. Why is Toyota Group the least affected during the entire crisis? It is also because the company maintains a relatively more interconnected relationship with chip foundries, using a cost-to-gamble method to reduce the risk of overcapacity caused by excessive stockpiling to foundries.

  The superposition of the above-mentioned items has boosted the wave of protectionism in the regionalization of the chip industry. When the German media reflected on the cause of the crisis, the anxiety fell on "Europe has lost the independent control of its chips." This gave birth to a new version of the EU semiconductor revitalization plan, but when the shortage crisis overflowed beyond the car chip, the entire global semiconductor was forced to carefully examine every manufacturing link in the upstream and downstream, so a relatively "secret" dark line gradually emerged ——Delivery problems arising from advanced packaging links.

  It should be noted that it may take up to 26 weeks for a fab to manufacture finished chips for customers. The cycle time for a completed semiconductor wafer is about two and a half months on average, while advanced processes may take 14-20 weeks. Back-end packaging and testing The link may take another 6 weeks to complete.

  If the integrated circuit chip and various circuit components are regarded as the human brain and various internal organs in the body, then the chip package is the human muscle skeleton, and the connections in the package are regarded as blood vessels and nerves, providing power supply voltage and circuit signals The path of transmission, so that the circuit function of the product can be fully utilized. In short, encapsulating this relatively labor-intensive link in a capital-intensive industry can completely become a choke point in the entire supply and demand chain and choke the chip delivery time.

  The current consensus of the industry trend is that advanced chip packaging technology can continue to squeeze out additional profits at the extreme moment of Moore’s Law. However, it is interesting that advanced industry think tanks, dominated by the American Semiconductor Association (SIA), are offering advice to the federal government. When drawing up the blueprint of the US independent plan for semiconductor manufacturing, it did not pay special attention or even deliberately ignored the PCB and chip packaging links. In the second half of last year, SIA issued two consecutive reports ("Government Incentive Program and US Semiconductor Manufacturing Competitiveness"