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Fan-Out: Will it continue to exceed expectations?

Extracted from :

Fan-Out Packaging Processes Comparison 2020 report, System Plus Consulting
Equipment and Materials for Fan-Out Packaging report, 2019, Yole Développement
Fan-Out Packaging: Technologies and Market Trends report, 2019, Yole Développement


• Fan-out platform is increasingly viewed as one of the top packaging options.
• Fan-out is a stable-growing market with revenue growth of 19% from US$1,584 million in 2019 to US$3,864 million in 2024.
• Total equipment & materials revenue is forecasted to surge more than US$700 million in 2024, with a good growth as well: Yole announces a 20% CAGR between 2018 and 2024.
• TSMC’S new fan-out capabilities are exciting. InFO capacity expansion is expected.
• Competition in core fan-out is tougher than before with PTI(1) coming in strong.

“We have seen a growth in adoption of FO(2) packaging over the year.” Indeed Stéphane Elisabeth, Technology & Cost Analyst from System Plus Consulting tells us the story: “It started a long time ago… Samsung has lost Apple’s APE packaging fight to TSMC thrice in a row since 2016. But, with SEMCO FO packaged APE+PMIC(3) by panel-level manufacturing, the competitive landscape has been modified. Then, today, with PTI a potential leader in FO, an exciting new chapter in fan-out history begins.”
Under this dynamic industry, System Plus Consulting offers a comprehensive reverse engineering and cost analysis dedicated to the FO packaging: Fan-Out Packaging Processes Comparison 2020. The company proposes an overview of the FO technologies available on the market developed by leading packaging companies: Infineon’s eWLB – nepes’ RCP – TSMC’s info – Samsung’s ePLP – ASE’s M-Series. Analysts also detail a comparative study of eight selected components from PMICs to processors including radar MMICs(4) using FO technologies. This report highlights the technical choices made by leading OEMs(5) and reveals a detailed cost analysis of each solution. Detailed information about System Plus Consulting’s FO report is now available: Here.
Without doubts, TSMC is the HD FO fan-out leader. SEMCO, Samsung’s subsidiary is probably the next biggest FO contender. And today PTI appears as a potential OSAT(6) outsider in FO… Because of innovations and market evolution, the battle will never end. System Plus Consulting and its partner Yole Développement (Yole), tell you the story.

TSMC has further extended its lead in the HD FO(7) market, with gen-2 inFO HVM(8) production and successful qualification of gen-3 inFO for Apple’s iPhone APE(9). “TSMC understands that industry technologies and applications are undergoing unprecedented change in a new, digital mega-trend driven era”, explains Favier Shoo, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. “Consequently, exciting technological developments exist to address these new demands.”


TSMC has commenced risk-production of inFO-oS(10) for HPC(11) qualifications. Moreover, the company is developing inFO-AiP(12) for mmWave applications (5G, etc.), and inFO-MS(13) for data-server applications (i.e. cloud). TSMC is also creating a new market segment called UDH FO(14), with a very aggressive sub-micron L/S roadmap and >1500 I/O.
In the “core” FO market, SEMCO and PTI have stolen the limelight by rolling out FOPLP(15) volume production for the first time in FO packaging history. SEMCO utilized ePLP(16) technology in the Samsung Galaxy smartwatch for the consumer market, for a multi-die FO package consisting of APE + PMIC with ~500 I/O. PTI successfully commenced FOPLP PMIC in LVM(17) for MediaTek’s automotive radar application.
For packaging houses to remain attractive for key fabless players like Qualcomm and MediaTek, cost-reduction is necessary. To this end, SEMCO, PTI, ASE/Deca, and Nepes have invested in FO at panel-level by leveraging existing facilities and capabilities to achieve economy-of-scale production. Currently, SEMCO and PTI have been able to kick-start production. It is also understood that for panel to be profitable and achieve real cost reduction, the yield for panel-level processing requires optimization. Hence more optimization and qualification of FOPLP technology is expected.


Physical analysis led by System Plus Consulting points out all FO applications. For each of them, analysts investigate the technical and strategic choices made by OEMs and their packaging partners. Thermo-mechanical performance, high I/O, SiP, side wall protection… The reverse engineering & costing company details the manufacturing processes:
• As an example, Denso’s 77 GHz radar features two receivers, one transmitter and one power amplifier MMIC. Transmitter’s function is to send data through the power amplifier and also send the local oscillator signal to the receivers. “This structure is typical to Infineon as the VCO is only on the transmitter MMIC”, comments Stéphane Elisabeth from System Plus Consulting. “These three type of MMICs are all packaged using eWLB technology.”
• Another example could be the comparison between Infineon Technologies’ eWLB vs. nepes/NXP’ RCP for thermo-mechanical performance, both dedicated to the automotive market. Both MMIC are package with the same form factor. The only difference is the thickness of the packaging. According to System Plus Consulting’s analysis, in the RCP package, the copper RDL cover almost 80 % of the package size whereas in the eWLP is less than 10%…
Of course, the story will not stop here. Latest financial announcements made by TSMC on Jan. 16(18) point out the strategy of the leading company to accelerate its developments and increase its presence towards the advanced packaging industry. Figures announced are impressive and will strongly impact the overall supply chain.

All year long, System Plus Consulting and Yole will pursue their investigation to follow the game. Both partners will analyze announcements and debate with leading players to collect key market and technology trends to provide valuable analyses. Stay tuned on to follow our activities including webcasts, articles, interviews, reports and more!

(1): PTI : Powertech Technology Inc.
(2): FO : Fan-Out
(3): PMIC: Power Management Integrated Circuit
(4): MMIC: Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit
(5): OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer
(6): OSAT: Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test
(7): HD FO : High- Density Fan-Out
(8): HVM : High-Volume Manufacturing
(9): APE : Application Processor Engine
(10): oS: on Substrate
(11): HPC : High Performance Computing
(12): AiP : Antenna-in-Package
(13): MS : Memory-on-Substrate
(14): UDH FO : Ultra-High-Density Fan- Out
(15): FOPLP : Fan-Out panel-level packaging
(16): ePLP : embedded Package-Level-Packaging
(17): LVM : Low Volume Manufacturing
(18): Source : TSMC financial report, Jan. 2020





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