As chip manufacturing increases in complexity, the industry has become more interconnected than ever. This is especially true for packaging and assembly. In response to this trend, a group of four European companies have teamed up to form the International Semiconductor Alliance (ISA).
Announced at the Productronica 2023 exhibition in Munich last month, the ISA aims to give customers a single place to turn for every stage of chip packaging. The initiative is led by Tresky GmbH, budatec GmbH, Berliner Nanotest und Design GmbH, and Bond Pulse.
In a statement, Tresky managing director Daniel Shultze said, “Very often, all four of us noticed that we were not only in contact with the same customers, but were also often involved in the same projects. In order to offer our joint customers even better services, we decided to take the step of working together as closely as possible.”
The range of those services is broad, and customers won’t need to look elsewhere to fulfill their packaging and assembly needs. The ISA intends to cover all sub-processes from bonding to soldering and sintering to inspection. Quality analysis is also available. Customers can choose which services they need and order them through the ISA, eliminating the need to form relationships with multiple firms.
ISA members will also make their laboratory facilities available to customers for both small-series prototyping and feasibility studies. Access to these facilities will help clients accelerate their development processes and get new products to market faster without the need for internal lab investment.
Another enticing benefit the ISA will offer is cross-process support and consulting services to guide clients. Nanotest und Design’s Dr. Mohamad Abo Ras said, “Of course, we advise our customers and pass on our knowledge to them. This involves a holistic evaluation of your assembly and connection technologies. We work with our customers to determine the ideal manufacturing processes and parameters for producing end products.”
The ISA is staffed by specialists who understand the ins and outs of the industry and will work alongside clients to make custom recommendations for process development. This structure is designed to shorten time-to-market and let customers rapidly produce both finished chips and prototypes.
Schultze says, “Once we and our customers know how we manufacture their products, we support them in the holistic project planning and design of the manufacturing process. This means they get the manufacturing systems as well as the know-how and processes from a single source, which significantly reduces the overall effort on the customer’s side.”
Moving forward, the ISA is interested in welcoming other firms to its ranks. This type of collaboration is an exciting opportunity for companies specializing in chip packaging and assembly. Europe has lofty chip goals for the coming decade as it seeks to compete with rivals in Asia and the United States. Uniting the resources and expertise of multiple companies under one umbrella is a viable strategy for attracting new business and remaining competitive.
The ISA offers a tempting package for customers who want to streamline their operations and those who would benefit from the guidance of industry leaders. Given the members’ expertise, customers will gain access to a wealth of knowledge.
At the same time, as the industry continues to prioritize self-reliance, consolidating business in one direction goes against the approach many chipmakers currently value. Partnering with numerous entities to create a more secure supply chain has been popular—as has bringing chip design in-house. Since the ISA offers services as one entity, there is some degree of risk should its operations be hindered. However, the combined resources of the four firms involved help offset this and should be reassuring to customers.