December 22, 2011 -- Yole Développement's new report, WLCSP Market & Industrial Trends, identifies the fan-in wafer-level chipscale packaging (WLCSP) market for strong growth, and a diverse base of chip technologies. Fan-in WLCSP reached 2.3 million 300mm-equivalent wafers shipped in 2011, or about $1.7 billion in revenue (wafer-level, die-level, and test processes), estimates Jean-Marc Yannou, senior analyst, advanced packaging at Yole Développement.
Many WLP technologies are surging: over 23 billion units packaged with fan-in interconnect designs will sell in 2011. Wafer-level technologies suit applications in smartphones and other mobile electronics where they provide size and cost reduction benefits. Fan-in WLCSP (FIWLP) has penetrated mobile connectivity, with Bluetooth + WLAN + FM combos, GPS devices, etc. It also is used for analog ICs: DC/DC converters, LDOs, ESD/EMI protection devices, etc. Growth applications include micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and sensors.
The average size of a FIWLP device increased over the past 2 years; many connectivity devices exceed 30mm² form factors. Prices are shrinking, and the fan-in WLCSP market will grow on average 12% from 2010-2016. This is 4 percentage points higher than the growth rate expected for all semiconductor packaging in the same timeframe. Despite this, FIWLP is showing early signs of market maturity, including declining costs and prices.
12% growth is strong, but lower than original predictions from Yole (22% 2008-2013), due to decreasing costs. The end of 300mm wafer shortages, and standardization and simplification of process flows, keep driving down costs.
Challenges to fan-in WLCSP growth come from the handset market, where Nokia, WLCSP’s historical biggest supporter, falls, and some tier-two handset manufacturers resist WLCSP adoption.
For future growth, WLCSP should rely on different devices, based on different technologies. On the technological front, transitions to the 28nm CMOS node could push I/O densities to the point where fan-out WLP (FOWLP) is required. FIWLP could be relegated to analog ICs, MEMS and sensors -- particularly CMOS image sensors. Yole Développement expects up to 25% growth for MEMS and sensors with WLCSP over the next 5 years.
The supply chain is still primarily led by outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) providers and integrated device makers (IDMs), but the original wafer bumping houses and wafer packaging houses occupy significant market share. All the major OSATs invested in 300mm WLCSP capacity over the past 2 years. TSMC recently announced their intention to step in this market too, and other semiconductor foundries may follow.
Companies cited in the report:
Accretech, Advantest, Agilent Technologies, Alphaprobes, Amkor, AMS, Anadigics, Analog Devices, AnalogicTech, Apple, Applied Materials, Asahi Kasei (AKM), ASE, Audience, Avago Technologies, Bosch, Broadcom, Cascade Microtech, Casio Micronics, China WLCSP, Cirrus Logic, CSR, Cypress, Delphi, Dialog Semiconductors, Discera, DNP, Dow, Dupont, electroglas, Ellipsiz, EPWorks, Fairchild, FCI, Form factor, Fraunhofer IZM, Freescale, Fujikura, Fujitsu, Google, Hamamatsu, Hynix, ICI, Idex, IDT, IME, imec, Infineon, International Rectifier, Intersil, Invensense, JCAP, JEM, JSR Micro, LAM Research, LB Semicon, Lenovo, LETI, Linear Technology, LTX/Credence, Marvell, Maxim, Maxlinear, Microchip, Micron, Micronics, Mitsubishi Chemical, Mosart, Motorola, Murata, National Semiconductors, Nemotek, Nepes, Nexx, Nippon Steel, Materials, Nokia, NXP, OKI, Okmetic, Omnivision, On semiconductor, Optopac, PacTech, Panasonic, PowerTech (PTI), Qualcomm, Renesas, Rhom, RIM (Blackberry), Samsung, Sanyo, Sensonor, Sharp, Shibasoku, Shin-Etsu, Shinko, Silecs, Silex, Siltech, SiTime, SMSC, Sony, SPIL, SPTS, StatsChipPac, STEricsson, STMicroelectronics, Sumitomo, Süss Microtec, TDK-Epcos, technoprobe, TEL, Teledyne/Dalsa, Teradyne, TeraMikros, TeraProbe, Texas Instruments, Toray, Toshiba Semiconductors, Tronics Microsystems, TSMC, UMC, Unisem, Verigy, Visera, VTI, Wentworth laboratories, Wolfson Microelectronics, Xintec, Yamaha, Yokogawa, etc.
Jean-Marc Yannou joined Yole Développement as technology and market expert in the fields of advanced packaging and Integrate Passive Devices. He has 15-years of experience in the semiconductor industry. He worked for Texas Instruments and Philips (then NXP semiconductor) where he served as Innovation Manager for System-in-Package technologies.
Lionel Cadix joined Yole Développement after the completion of several projects linked to the characterization and modeling of high density TSV and 3DIC chip stacking in collaboration with CEA Leti and STMicroelectronics during his PhD.
The Yole report includes technical and market status and forecasts on WLCSP technologies and applications. Market forecasts and growth rates are provided based on device units and wafers for each market segment over the 2010-2016 timeframe. Market value forecasts in dollars are given over the same period of time. Based on Yole Développement’s “bottom-up” analysis of the WLP fabs, the report displays the list and ranking of the WLCSP front-end (RDL, UBM and balling) players as of end of 2010, including the detailed respective wafer production capacities by player and wafer type. Numerous application examples are given, recent technical developments on materials, architectures and test are detailed, and industry-wide technology roadmaps are presented. In addition, the report provides for the analysis of the supply chain and a detailed cost analysis section with models and examples. Learn more at www.yole.fr.