Carl McMahon, Genmark Automation

The performance and productivity of microelectronics have increased continuously over the last 50 years due to the enormous advances in lithography and device technology. Today, these technologies are becoming prevalent in 3D packaging, which further enables advances in integrating various technologies (logic, memory, RF, sensors, etc.) in a small form factor. There are concerns with the sustainability of shrinking devices beyond 5nm and the costs associated with it. Advanced packaging compliments these current technologies, thereby extending ‘Moore’s law’ for several generations.

From Genmark’s perspective, guided by over 30 years of experience, the migration to Si or Si-type substrates for 3D packaging allowed much of current semiconductor technology to be adapted for their processes. This is particularly true for automation, where mainstream automation designed for integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) can be modified for substrates used in 3D wafer-level packaging (WLP).

Data from Genmark show that 10 years ago, we sold to companies who were working on developing more efficient, cost-effective, high-volume 3D packaging technologies. Since then, we have been involved with these and many other companies at the forefront of packaging. Companies and research institutes worldwide have demonstrated 3D integration processes. Genmark’s development of the CODEX stocker to serve the glass wafer segment of the market was driven by the need to lower costs and improve performance for WLP companies.

Cleanliness requirements in advanced packaging are now similar to any of the leading-edge IDM companies. However, in the area of substrate handling lies some of the most difficult challenges because the exclusion zone for substrate handling is greatly reduced. This, in turn, has led to the rise of ‘no-touch’ end effectors, based on Bernoulli principles. Genmark is one of the very few companies that can run a 100% ‘no-touch’ handling process on to panels up to 450mm. The focus for us now is to work with our customers on improving throughput and performance of these technologies, ultimately enabling the production of more cost-effective products.

Looking forward to Genmark’s next 10 years, the recent acquisition by Nidec-Sankyo gives us the ability to provide our technologies across a broader range of companies. Nidec-Sankyo has a global reach and technology platforms that Genmark can leverage to constantly innovate new solutions within the 3D packaging space.

We see requirements for ‘smarter’ handling solutions, building 3D software models of applications before releasing to the customer. Developing the applications ‘virtually’ can speed up product launch to an industry that has no established single substrate size. Coupled with this are both thickness and material type challenges which require novel handling regimes. Nidec-Sankyo’s teams and Genmark’s together have already created new handling technologies which will benefit all of our advanced packaging customers. This is why we have been nominated for the 2019 3D InCites Award for Equipment Supplier of the Year. See who else was nominated and cast your vote here. Learn more about Genmark Automation on our website.

Carl McMahon

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