SEMICON Europa got underway yesterday, and reports from the event point to new materials, 450mm and 3D ICs as the key topics – all from the European perspective. According to SEMI Europe President, Heinz Kundert, Europe has reached a critical crossroads where its very future as a global competitor seems to hinge on making it in micro- and nano-electronics. “Europe must not risk the walking away from the most important global key industry, or we will fall behind in other international industries, too,” says Kundert.
 

 “Building on the Strength of Europe” the European semiconductor industry meets at SEMICON Europa 2012 in Dresden, Germany. (courtesy of SEMI)

Over the next three days, a reported 342 manufacturers from 20 nations will present the latest industry trends, technologies, equipment, components, materials, services and industry solutions. The exhibitors and customers of the forum include representatives of the semiconductor manufacturing, microelectronics, microsystem technology and research and development, many of whom have gathered to discuss the challenge of ensuring the competitiveness of the European industry.
 
Tablet PCs, smartphones and smart grids remain in global demand
After a stable year of 2012 the semiconductor industry is expecting similar growth for the upcoming year. “The average of the book-to-bill-ratio for the past third quarter of 2012 was a little lower than for the second quarter of 2012; on average, the numbers for the third quarter are better than for the third quarter of 2011,” notes Kundert. “In the coming months, the chip market will remain closely connected to new health products and electronic systems for the industry. Industry analysts assume that the global economy will recover and predict new impetus in demand for electronic systems due to a growing number of end users.”
 
A plan to remain competitive
The European Commission continuously emphasizes the importance of micro- and nano-electronics to the EU’s economic strength. Kundert called for coordination of interests of EU member states. “If Europe wants to remain competitive, the industry has to develop and successfully market new technology such as ‘smart grids’ urgently needed for the transition to greater energy efficiency. Furthermore, it is important for investment-intensive semiconductor technology that the relevant industry players align their interests and join forces”, says Kundert. He also stressed the importance of presenting a united front as a European Industry – rather than relying in individual regions to carry the investment ball forward. “We all need to speak with one voice”, says Kundert. “At the same time we have to clarify to what extent the key-enabling-technology-initiative is represented in EU promotional programs”

Program at SEMICON Europa 
Numerous experts from leading semiconductor companies will offer keynote presentations in the conferences and seminars. The 3D IC session, 3D Integration – An Application Perspective, will emphasize heterogeneous integration – a particular strength in Europe’s nano- and microelectronics industries. As 3D integration schemes are largely determined by the application requirements (high density memory, memory on logic, etc), the presentations in this session will address the new technological challenges in 3D integration mostly from a users’ point of view.

The Advanced Packaging Conference focuses on Packaging Solutions for the New Technologies”. This conference allows the attendees to explore the most important developments in the field of microelectronics applications. This year’s 450mm session focuses on the current knowledge in the areas of introduction, planning and also research and development of 450mm wafer fabs.

SEMICON Europa is co-located this year with Plastic Electronics Exhibition and Conference. Both fields will be of mutual benefit to one another in the future, says Kundert. “The synergies between the opportunities of Plastic Electronics and semiconductor, display and thin film manufacturing have the potential to revolutionize the electronics industry in the coming years. Companies are now working to accelerate production. SEMI supports these activities with collective tasks such as road maps, standardization, conferences, PR and numerous other activities.”

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