Microchips are based on silicon wafers, on which chip manufacturers transfer the circuit layout using a photolithographic process. Chips are then encapsulated with an epoxy compound after the production process to protect them and facilitate contacting. This process is called packaging. Fan-out panel level packaging, the newest packaging process, plays a key role as electronic components increasingly become miniaturised even as they offer better performance. In addition to significantly reducing the volume, thickness, weight, and manufacturing costs of packaging while doubling the pin count, the process also has significant positive effects on the thermal conductivity and speed of the components.
Microsystems with these properties form the basis for quick digitisation in many different areas of our lives. The number of chips installed in smartphones, for instance, has increased more than tenfold in the past 10 years. The megatrends of electro mobility and autonomous driving, in addition to the driver assistance systems already installed in vehicles today, will cause major leaps in installed chips in the automotive industry. The global electronics industry association SEMI expects to see an increase from currently between 60 and 100 sensors per car to over 200 sensors in 2020.
Eckhard Hörner-Marass, CEO of Manz AG, comments in a press release: “By entering the market for fan-out panel level packaging, we are securing our access as a high-tech equipment manufacturer to an absolutely future-oriented field in microelectronics. Due to cost and productivity benefits, we are seeing a trend in the semiconductor market towards producing rectangular panel formats using the FOPLP process technology. As a specialist in printed circuit board and display production, we have the technological expertise necessary to establish ourselves as the world’s first provider of a fully integrated and automated FOPLP production solution in cooperation with our strategic partners. Furthermore this project shows the importance of the merger of our previously independent business units Display and PCB early this year, since a close interlocking of the respective competencies is key to success for the FOPLP process.”