When I read about ESiP project outline, what jumped out of me is the following:
Over the past decade, mass production of micro-/nanoelectronics devices has been moving out of Europe. While automotive and communications domains are still European strongholds, many mass-produced devices, such as memory, have been taken over by non-European producers. One option for bringing volume semiconductor production back to Europe is to establish highly-automated fabrication plants.
I am not certain if the new generation of SiP could be a savior for Europe's microelectornics industry, but I think there is definitely a demand for much more compact SiP.
I believe there will be increasing innovation in all sorts of packaging as advanceds in Moore's Law come more slowly and at higher expense. It would be interresting if anyone from the project could get on and talk about what they add to what's out there today.
I do wish however all nations and regions could let go of the old thinking about the need for local production. It's a global industry with a global supply chain.
Junko, you noted quite correctly in your comments below on mass production moving out of EU (& US for that matter). The question then is how is this initiative going to identifiy & address the 'value-add' portion of the manufacturing of the ESiP and implement those in to processes that can stay on-shore in EU? I understand this is a high level news release so details are lacking.
Of the four objectives of ESiP -reliability, FA, Final Testing & SiP test vehicles are typically what all new R&D initiatives start with and most often end up transferring the knowledge from these into manufacturing off-shore for high volume.
Heterogeneous 3D integration has been talked about (including in this report) in the industry a lot but I have not seen that triggering either a plethora of new products nor new ASIC startups of tomorrow. The ones that are announcing (like Samsung in its stacked xDRAM and alliances like Memory Hypercube) are all existing big companies that have the resources to take on such ventures. I hope there is some outcome from ESiP initiatives that help smaller businesses and startups to spring up.
I hear you, Rick. EU announcing this project and that project is actually getting old. And yet, when you think about R&D dollars needed for basic technology development, framing the research project in regional/political terms is usually the most reliable method to get funding. As MP mentioned, we all look forward to seeing the fruits of this project in real market. We will keep track of them.
I am not sure I agree with the project outline snippet above. It's typical of the old-fashioned European mindset if you ask me. The prevailing mindset is to keep all socio-economic structures and procedures as they are, and reverse the clock back to the days where Europe was the hub of mass production, in this instance by establishing highly-automated fabrication plants, as if the rest of the world will stand still. Europe's loss of competitiveness is mainly to blame on its old fashioned education, labour and economic systems.
I wish this ESiP initiative all the best but it won't solve Europe's problems, that's for sure. We are living in a global economy and Europe needs to compete in innovation and productivity, and worry less about where this or that part of the value chain will be as long as it's the most efficient place for it.
Hi, KB. Your points are well taken. I see the similar phenomenon in Japanese electronics industry. There had been so many failed microelectronics projects in Japan in late 1990's and early 2000's that essentially went nowhere. Getting funding is one thing, but actually producing results and developing something that's marketable is an entirely different story.
But i see the problem is not about getting government's funding.
The real issue is more about how you manage a project like this, and whether you have disciplines (and flexibility) to go after what the market really demands.
In my opinion, the key is to identify clearly one's unique competitive advantage and harness it to the full. In this instance, Europe (I should say Germany) has a unique competitive advantage in the Automotive industry (due to decades and decades of incremental improvements, good industrial relations and a high quality brand) and this ESiP project fits well into this framework. But to sell it as disruptive and potentially contributing to bringing mass production back to Europe is nonsensical (and I suspect is mostly for Eurocrat consumption).
Japan is very similar to Germany in many ways by the way. Both countries are not the best place for developing disruptive technologies. The electronics industry is prime for distruptive technologies these days but the answer won't come from Germany or Japan IMO.
"So, in your opinion, what harnesses the development of disruptive technologies? I take it that it won't come from "group activities" in such big consortiums..."
Yes, I fear not. Diruptive technologies will mostly come from small start-ups or small teams within entrepreneurial companies/institutions. Large consortia like these will spend an awful lot of time managing the consortia and preparing/filling reports. In most cases I have seen, the solution is nearly there from the start (or there already) - it's just new packaging.
The key ingredients for disruptive innovation IMO are:
- Free thinking
- Minimal bureaucracy
- Business-friendly regulations
- Availability of finance at different enterprise stages
Europe as a whole is failing in most of the above I am afraid....
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