If you have an ear out for the new in the world of 3D IC technology as I do, then you might have caught one of the more interesting, and one of the freshest, voices in the field among the panelists speaking at the recent MEPTEC Semiconductor Roadmap Symposium in Santa Clara, CA.
That new voice belongs to Dr. Dongkai Shangguan, who is CEO of the National Center for Advanced Packaging, recently (CY2012) formed in Wuxi, China.
According to its corporate literature, NCAP China’s goals are to establish a world class R&D center for advanced packaging and system integration, play a leading role in the development and commercialization of advanced technologies for microelectronics packaging and system integration, and help promote and sustain the technological and commercial advancement of the microelectronics industry in China.
Moreover, NCAP, in collaboration with system OEMs and supply chain partners, is aggressively pursuing research and development in order to offer total solutions for the IC industry. NCAP’s current research directions include: 2.5D/3D technology (including TSV), high density wafer level packaging, SiP product development capabilities, opto-electronics, testing, and certain advanced materials (including substrates) and equipment technologies for microelectronics packaging.
Dr. Shangguan’s focus at the MEPTEC symposium was on costs in 2.5D/3D: “Currently, cost is still a major barrier – especially for high routing density applications. Current applications are primarily driven by high value/performance products, with limited volume. The main cost factor is equipment, followed by materials. Industry-wide collaboration is needed to lower the total cost.”
To that end, the NCAP China team, under Dr. Shangguan’s leadership, will, in the next few years, focus on building a world class platform for R&D, commercialization, international technical exchange, and mentoring and training of talents for the IC industry and the supply chain. NCAP will develop advanced technologies and commercialize such technologies through the transfer of total solutions to the industry.
By way of introduction, before his role as CEO at NCAP China, Dr. Shangguan was a Vice President at Flextronics, a leading EMS provider with $30B annual revenue and 200,000 people worldwide, focused on delivering complete design, engineering and manufacturing services to OEMs. Shangguan had global responsibility for managing innovation, technology development and deployment, and engineering excellence. Prior to joining Flextronics, he worked for 10 years at Ford Motor Co. / Visteon Corporation in various technical and management functions including advanced electronics manufacturing, DFM, reliability, and supplier quality.
That’s just the kind of background that could bring some fresh thinking to the world of semiconductor packaging.
Wanting to know more, I had the chance to sit with Dr. Shangguan during a break at the IEEE 3D IC conference in San Francisco last week, where Dongkai was kind enough to share his thoughts on the role of NCAP, and the role of China, in working to reduce costs while moving technology forward in the advanced packaging space.
About NCAP China itself, Dongkai says “NCAP represents a new model for how to perform R&D that is targeted for real commercialization, and not just for developing IP. NCAP is a private company, started by five founding investors, which has now grown to include a total of eight investors.”
(The original five NCAP investors are identified as leaders of the IC packaging and testing industry in China: Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology; Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics; Huatian Technology; Shennan Circuit Company; and the Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.)
More from Dongkai about NCAP: “NCAP will work directly with OSATS and foundries in, but not limited to, China, and we will also help on the design side, and with manufacturing entities, and with materials and equipment suppliers in order to bring about total solutions for advanced packaging at the right costs.”
And how will NCAP measure its success? “There are several ways NCAP will measure its successes in the industry. One measure of success is our IP portfolio; another measure will be seeing our technology used in products that have reached volume manufacturing in areas like 2.5D and high density WLP; a third measure of NCAP’s success will be positive impact on the supply chain as we partner with equipment and materials suppliers; and a fourth measure of success will possibly be the spin-offs we may create in the Yangtze River area, which is already a rich ecosystem for creating new businesses, and which NCAP may further incubate.”
On the topic of processing equipment performance, Dr. Shangguan knows that “You need the right equipment capability. There is room for equipment cost/performance improvements that can be made by further optimizing and customizing semiconductor processing equipment for advanced packaging applications. We intend to provide equipment suppliers the needed guidance on this; we think there are significant opportunities here for NCAP and for the suppliers.”
As far as location goes, the benefits to NCAP of being based in China are these: “The good news is that the packaging industry is growing, and that the customer base is in Asia – there are good opportunities for equipment companies if they focus in Asia, focusing on equipment performance and cost, as well as service and support.”
And from that base, and in his travels, Dr. Shangguan is actively talking with prospective partners, as he was in California this month, about working together with NCAP China in order to create value in the advanced packaging market.
Says Dongkai, “I am listening to the voice of the customer and to the voice of technology.”
From Petaluma, CA, thanks for reading. ~ PFW