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A move toward the qualification of innovative discrete power device packages – An interview with Carsem

Discrete power device industry’s key characteristics and needs are low cost per device, a large selection of products and suppliers as well as highly standardized products and technologies, which include packaging technologies such as leadframe, die attach, electrical interconnections, and encapsulation. The discrete power device market is following the global rise of the power electronics industry.  As indicated in Yole Développement’s report Discrete Power Device Packaging: Materials Market and Technology Trends 2019, the discrete power device market represented almost US$13.5 billion in 2018 with an expected 2.9% CAGR between 2018 and 2024. The discrete power device packaging industry offers business opportunities, especially for materials suppliers and packaging companies. Discrete device makers can manufacture power devices internally or subcontract the packaging to Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly & Test (OSAT) companies. Device makers and OSATs are both looking to offer innovative packaging solutions to their customers.

Carsem is a leading OSAT for discrete power devices, offering one of the largest package and test portfolios in the world.  i-Micronews invites you to discover Carsem’s perspective in this interview of Inderjeet Singh, General Manager, Carsem (Malaysia) – S-Site.

This interview has been conducted by Shalu Agarwal, PhD., Technology & Market Analyst and Milan Rosina, PhD., Principal Analyst at Yole Développement (Yole).

Shalu Agarwal (SA): Please briefly introduce Carsem, its services, its history and current activities?

Inderjeet Singh (IS): Carsem is a leading provider of turnkey packaging and test services to the semiconductor industry, and has offered one of the largest package and test portfolios in the world for the last 47 years. Founded in 1972 and acquired by the Hong Leong Group in 1984, Carsem has two factories in Ipoh, Malaysia and one factory in Suzhou, China.

SA: Can you detail the markets addressed by Carsem (Automotive, Industrial…)?

IS: Our focus in the last 5 years has been in niche CuClip SiP power products serving the server market especially in VR12 and VR13. We are currently working toward serving the automotive market and are actively working with customers to qualify new packages, including custom packages. We have also other applications, especially in mobile, for RF Power & fast charging using GaN technologies & Sintered Ag materials.

SA: Can you tell i-Micronews readers about Carsem’s involvement in the discrete power packaging market?

IS: Since 1972, Carsem has offered a variety of power package types, starting with leaded packages such as SOIC, TO220, DDPAK, and SOT223, as well as Multi die – Module  including CuClip packaging starting in 2006 and custom power/power RF packaging starting in 2018.

SA: Could you discuss Carsem’s technical expertise compared to its competitors? In your opinion, what is the added value of your offer?

IS: We have a complete R&D team dedicated to development of power packaging and we have multiple customers as development partners to enable different packaging technologies to be developed till full production maturity. We have a dedicated pilot line, which enables multiple iterations of development to be evaluated before full qualification. To compliment this, we also have a materials lab to carry out necessary evaluations of the materials to understand its characteristics and properties before any commitment. In summary, we have all the necessary resources (technical expertise & equipment) to develop the right packaging technologies for the future. Examples include Al WB, Wedge Bonding, Ribbon Bonding, Eutectic & Sintered Ag equipment and CuClip equipment dedicated for thin dice DA. We also have a dedicated test development team to work on the correct testing platforms for power products.

Milan Rosina (MR): According to Carsem, what is the related roadmap for the next five years?

IS: Carsem is continuing to expand power and power RF packaging capacity, as well as ongoing development of new and custom package technology. We are adding single and dual clip options, multi FET and inductors / resistors, EMI Shielding Options, PB Free to address the ever-growing automotive space.

Custom Multi Chip CuClip Packaging
Custom Multi Chip CuClip Packaging – Courtesy of Carsem

MR: What are the main technical and market trends related to discrete power device packaging? What are the latest innovations?

IS: MIS, LGA and QFN CuClip, thin die, materials and packaging to support wide bandgap GaN and SiC wafers. Carsem has invested in Au and Al wedge bonding, Al ribbon bonding, eutectic die attach, high accuracy thin die capable die attach and flip chip bonders. We will also be looking at Low Loss Packaging with lower cost in the power segment. Primary segments that require this technology are in the server and automotive markets. The needs include smaller and lighter as well as low heat loss packaging technology.

MR: Yole Développement saw different types of packaging, according to the application. Could you reveal to our readers, the main parameters for choosing an innovative packaging?

IS: Electrical and thermal requirements are primary. High voltage packaging often requires minimum distances between external metal features. Rds(on) and heat adversely affect the performance of these devices, so must be controlled by the package design and materials. Of course, all these must come at the right cost. Material selection is considered critical for the short-term needs, as well as in designing for long-term needs as power product content increases with the evolution of AI and IoT, as well as an increase in data storage centers and in automotive electrification.

MR: According to you what will be the evolution of power packaging technologies in the future? Is Carsem working on these new solutions?

IS: The one that is gaining significant traction is the replacement of power discretes, i.e. DPak, D2Pak by a smaller and lighter package with similar or better power efficiency. On the other hand, we see power modules and the need for better and reliable BOM. We are actively working on all these solutions and positioning ourselves to be the preferred OSAT for both industrial (primarily servers) and automotive market segments.

MR: Do you want to add few words for our i-Micronews readers?

IS: Besides the value-add services that we provide, we have positioned ourselves to be the leaders in power packaging development and have multiple partners who have worked with us. In addition, we have a very flexible business model and will be willing to work closely on the needs of your specific application or the industry as a whole. Carsem is also a good financially disciplined company with zero debt and will be open to investment for future growth.


Interviewee:

Mr. Inderjeet Singh joined the Company in Sep 1991 as a fresh Process Engineer and is currently the General Manager of Carsem S-Site, which houses the Assembly & Test for QFN and Power Management Products of Carsem. During his career, Mr. Singh has held various management positions within the Company. Before Mr. Singh’s promotion to his current role on Oct 1, 2011, he was the Operations Manager of the QFN Product Line in S-Site. From 2003 to 2008, Mr. Singh was responsible for Operations for the IC Product Line in both S-Site and M-Site. He was tasked to consolidate the IC Product Lines and improved productivity with a standard High Density LF in M-Site before he was seconded to the fastest growing line, QFN in S-Site from 2008 to 2011. Prior to 2003, he was responsible for other engineering & operational functions within the company before starting up the management ladder within Hong Leong and Carsem’s Corporation.
Email: inderjeet@carsem.com

Interviewers

Shalu Agarwal, PhD. is an Analyst specializing in Power Electronics & Materials at Yole Développement (Yole). Based on Seoul, Shalu is engaged in the development of technology & market reports as well as the production of custom consulting studies, within the Power & Wireless Division. Shalu has more than 10 years’ experience in Electronic Material Chemistry. Before joining Yole, she worked as a project manager and research professor in the field of electronic materials, batteries and inorganic chemistry. Shalu Agarwal received her master’s and Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the Indian institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee (India).

Milan Rosina, PhD, is Principal Analyst, Power & Wireless / Batteries, at Yole Développement (Yole), within the Power & Wireless division. He is engaged in the development of the market, technology and strategic analyses dedicated to innovative materials, devices and systems. His main areas of interest are EV/HEV, renewable energy, power electronic packaging and batteries. Milan has 20 years of scientific, industrial and managerial experience involving equipment and process development, due diligence, technology, and market surveys in the fields of renewable energies, EV/HEV, energy storage, batteries, power electronics, thermal management, and innovative materials and devices. He received his PhD degree from Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP) in France.
Milan Rosina previously worked for the Institute of Electrical Engineering in Slovakia, Centrotherm in Germany, Fraunhofer IWS in Germany, CEA LETI in France, and utility company ENGIE in France.


Related report

Discrete Power Device Packaging: Materials Market and Technology Trends 2019
Despite the transition to SiP, SoC, and power modules, discrete device packaging still represents a big opportunity especially for materials suppliers.

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