Quarterly advanced packaging snapshot: Rise of FCBGA packages amid coronavirus pandemic

Macroeconomics of the pandemic years:  A look back at Q4’2020 and look ahead to 2021, from the Advanced Packaging Quarterly Market Monitor Q4 2020 performed by the Advanced Packaging team from Yole Développement (Yole).

Year 2020 has been quite unique years in terms of unprecedented challenges to many world economies and certain industries such as travel, hotels, and restaurants segments.  Despite the hardship, semiconductor eco-system has flourished nicely growing compare to 2019 levels.  Semiconductor devices demand and complexity has grown significantly as strong revenues shown by leaders such as TSMC, Intel, OSATs, and equipment suppliers.  Q4’2020 remained strong as on-line holiday season remained strong and many handheld devices remained at attractive low price points for consumer interest despite overall slow-down in the smart-phone market.  2021 brings its own challenges as global lockdowns and restrictions resurface despite the vaccine effort.  However, semiconductor industry is expected to enjoy another strong year for 2021 as consumer demand remains strong due to “work from home” initiatives and sever infrastructure demand is expected to rise for next 2-3 years putting FCBGA packaging platform at rapid growth trajectory.

FCBGA packaging reaches new heights to $12B by 2025 driven by AI, datacenter and HPC momentum

FCBGA package revenue is expected to reach $12B USD by 2025 from $10B in 2020.  This unprecedented growth is due to increased demand in automotive, high performance computing, laptops and client computing segment and increased need for graphics in consumer and server applications.  FCBGA packages traditionally been used in workstation, laptop, and desktop applications as CPUs and server CPUs.  These markets have traditionally been dominated by giants such as Intel and AMD.  With slow-down of Moore’s law in recent years, how to assemble, package and integrate various functionality blocks in the SoC has become increasingly challenging.  High Density FCBGA substrate continues to evolve and get more denser with finer line & space as more routing and multiple chips are being heterogeneously integrated on to the substrate. 

FCBGA packaging can be broken down in key ingredients such as wafer bumping using CuP (Cu Pillar), packaging that includes die singulation, chip attach, underfill, and mounting a thermal solution as many SoCs have high TDP requiring integrated heat spreader and thermal interface material.  FCBGA HDI substrate is significant portion of performance and cost structure of the device & package.  Continued innovation in underfill material are required to ensure high solder joint reliability and performance.  Novel thermal interface materials are also continuously developed to meet new bond line requirements, temp cycle requirements, and thermal requirements.  Ensuring robust mechanical, thermal, and electrical performance is essential for each CPU generation for client and server arena.

FCBGA suppliers experience “full” factory and increase in ASP for coming quarters

FCBGA supply chain is comprised of OSATs, High Density substrate suppliers, assembly material suppliers and wafer bumping houses.  HDI Substrate suppliers remain one of the key element of FCBGA supply chain as it is expected that substrates are becoming more dense, larger to accommodate multi-function or multi-die modules.  Suppliers continue to push technology boundaries as 20/20 and 15/15 Line/Space skus are becoming more common.  Suppliers such as AT&S, Unimicron, Kinsus and others are gearing up for significant upside in next 5 years as FCBGA market is expected to grow at 6-8% CAGR.  OSAT are in great position to reap the benefits of upside in FCBGA package demand as this remains low to med volume business with high profit margins compare to consumer applications where the assembly margins remain in single digit to low teens.  OSATs such as ASE, Amkor, JCET, and TFME remain key packaging house for networking, computing and automotive demand for FCBGA packages.

FCBGA forecast & growth drivers as top OSATs cash in with increased demand

FCBGA package family is one of the rare product types in the OSAT advanced packaging eco-system that is expected to provide high revenue growth with medium to high profit margins for next five years as the demand from AI, HPC (High Performance Computing), networking, and automotive remain robust and on a growth trajectory.  1H’2020 experienced some slow down due to lockdown experienced by the automotive industry however  2H’2020 demonstrated resurrection of automotive industry and this trend is likely to continue indicating increase in infotainment and ADAS modules on FCBGA platform.  In addition to automotive, GPU forecast is expected to enjoy a healthy growth as Intel ventures into discrete graphics offering and nVidia acquires ARM indicating continued advances in GPU architectures. 


FCBGA and 3D stacked packaging:  two complementary eco-systems for the next decade

As Moore’s Law slows down, there are increasing number of SoCs using 3D stacked hybrid packaging technology as the race for heterogeneous integration continues at unprecedented rate.  Intel is one of the leader as they ramp their “Foveros” technology for client product line such as laptops and tablets in addition to continue to adopt its EMIB technology in servers and Co-EMIB packaging technology in upcoming 7 nm server platforms in coming years.  This rise in 3D stacked packages and 2.5D packages using interposer have complemented FCBGA packaging business as these high end packaging form factors require large body size substrate with high layer count and fine line and space.  The increase in 3D stacked packaging technology will complement FCBGA packaging market for the coming decade led by rise in datacenter applications and automotive eco-system.  Another giant that is investing significant of its resources in 3D stacked packaging is TSMC.  TSMC plans to productize its SoIC (System on Integrated Chips) product line that plans to use hybrid bonding interconnect processes delivering high degree of scalability and unparalleled bandwidth performance. 

About the packaging , assembly and substrate team at Yole Développement:

Vaibhav Trivedi is a Senior Technology & Market analyst at Yole Développement (Yole) working with the Semiconductor & Software division. Based in the US, he is a member of Yole’s advanced packaging team and contributes to analysis of ever-changing advanced packaging technologies. Vaibhav has 17+ years of field experience in semiconductor processing and semiconductor supply chain, specifically on memory and thermal component sourcing and advanced packaging such as SiP and WLP.
Vaibhav has held multiple technical and commercial lead roles at various semiconductor corporations prior to joining Yole.
Vaibhav holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and Master of Science of Material Science from University of Florida in addition to an MBA from Arizona State University.

Favier Shoo is a Technology and Market Analyst in the Semiconductor, Memory and Computing Division at Yole Développement, part of Yole Group of Companies. Based in Singapore, Favier is engaged in the development of technology & market reports as well as the production of custom consulting reports. During 7 years at Applied Materials as a Customer Application Technologist in the advanced packaging marketspace, Favier developed an in-depth understanding of the supply chain and core business values. As an acknowledged expert in this field, Favier has provided training and held numerous technical review sessions with industry players. In addition, he has obtained 2 patents. Prior to that, Favier worked at REC Solar as a Manufacturing Engineer to maximize production capacity. Favier holds a Bachelor’s in Materials Engineering (Hons) and a Minor in Entrepreneurship from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) (Singapore).  Favier was also the co-founder of a startup company where he formulated business goals, revenue models and marketing plans.

Santosh Kumar

Santosh Kumar is currently working as Principal Analyst and Director Packaging, Assembly & Substrates for Yole Développement’s activities in Korea. Based in Seoul, Santosh is involved in the market, technology and strategic analyses of the microelectronic assembly and packaging technologies. His main interest areas are advanced IC packaging technology including equipment & materials. He is the author of several reports on fan-out / fan-in WLP, flip chip, and 3D/2.5D packaging. Santosh Kumar received the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee and University of Seoul respectively. He has published more than 40 papers in peer reviewed journals and has obtained 2 patents. He has presented and given talks at numerous conferences and technical symposiums related to advanced microelectronics packaging.

Emilie Jolivet is Director of the Semiconductor & Software Division at Yole Développement, part of Yole Group of Companies, where her specific interests cover package & assembly, semiconductor manufacturing, memory and software & computing fields. Based on her valuable experience in the semiconductor industry, Emilie manages the expansion of the technical and market expertise of the Semiconductor and Software Team. The team interacts daily with leading companies allowing semiconductor & software analysts to collect a large amount of data and integrate their understanding of the evolution of the market with technology breakthroughs. In addition, Emilie’s mission focusses on the management of business relationships with semiconductor leaders and the development of market research and strategy consulting activities inside the Yole group. Emilie Jolivet holds a Master’s degree in Applied Physics specializing in Microelectronics from INSA (Toulouse, France). After an internship in failure analysis at Freescale (France), she was an R&D engineer for seven years in the photovoltaic business where she co-authored several scientific articles. Enriched by this experience, she graduated with an MBA from IAE Lyon and then joined EV Group (Austria) as a business development manager in 3D & Advanced Packaging before joining Yole Développement in 2016.

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