Rising Demand for Array IC Packaging

Small form factor, high speed and performance, and high bandwidth capability with low battery consumption are desired traits for many packaging solutions for integrated circuits (ICs).  High demand for handheld and high performance electronic devices is the driving factor behind the IC packaging needs.

IC packages with an array layout, as opposed to a perimeter layout, allow for more I/O density in a smaller form factor, meeting the needs outlined above.  Thus demand for array packages is on the rise, as additional I/O connections are fit beneath the package than traditional leadframe packages, providing them with form factor benefits.  BGA and FBGA package solutions also reach into I/O levels which are unreachable by traditional leadframe packages, as the substrate can be enlarged to fit a large number of solder balls, land pads, or columns beneath it to attach to the PCB.

Array packages include the PGA, BGA, FBGA, Fan-in QFN, and Fan-out WLPs.  The pin grid array, or PGA, is a through-hole package with pins which attach it to the PCB.  The other packages have more options.

BGA / FBGA

Ball grid arrays (BGAs) and their smaller cousins, fine-pitched ball grid arrays (FBGAs) generally have solder balls on the underside of the substrate for attachment to the printed circuit board (PCB).  The balls provide a self-centering effect during reflow, as well as a standoff for flexibility during electrical surges.

Removing these solder balls makes these packages land grid arrays, or LGAs, which allow for a shorter package in the “z” dimension.  This is important in thinner products, although the package placement to the PCB must be of greater accuracy and thus have a slower throughput.

Columns can take the place of solder balls, which allow for finer pitch and greater density of I/O connections.  These are known as column grid arrays, or CGAs.  These are more expensive to produce than the BGA or LGA package solutions.

The forecasts of each of these segments are provided in New Venture Research’s newly published report, The Array IC Packaging Market, 2013 Edition.

Fan-In QFN Package Solutions

The quad flatpack no-lead, or QFN, is a newer package introduced onto the market in 2008.  A new twist has been added to the QFN to add additional rows to this leadframe package, turning it into a leadframe version of an array package, and one that can reach even further into the market which would otherwise be covered by the larger QFP.  Additional rows are “fanned in” from the traditional perimeter-style leadframe, making this package unique.

Demand for both the traditional QFN and Fan-in QFNs are on the rise, shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Fan-In QFN

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

QFN Percentage of Total IC Packages

12.4%

12.7%

13.2%

13.8%

14.4%

14.8%

Growth Rate of Fan-In QFN and QFP

184.5%

15.4%

25.9%

11.9%

10.5%

9.9%

As a Percentage of Total QFN Market

3.4%

3.6%

4.1%

4.2%

4.3%

4.3%

Fan-Out WLPs

Wafer Level Packages, or WLPs, are the smallest package solution on the market, being die sized.  This unique package is formed while the die are still part of an uncut wafer, the only package to be created or assembled in this manner.  WLPs are array packages by nature, but since all the solder balls or bumps then must fit beneath the die itself, this limits the number of I/O which is on these packages.

The solution to this is the Reconfigured or Fan-out wafer-level packages (Fan-out WLP), for which the available surface available for I/O interface to the PCB is expanded beyond the perimeter of the die by virtue of a backside overmold.  All these processes are done on an uncut wafer, so that manufacturing efficiencies are maximized.

Like the Fan-in QFN, demand for both the WLP and the Fan-out WLP are on the rise.  This is displayed in Table 2.

Table 2 Fan-Out WLP

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

WLP Percent of WW IC Packaging Market

5.3%

5.5%

5.7%

5.9%

6.0%

6.1%

Growth Rate for Fan-out WLPs

60.1%

19.0%

17.0%

16.6%

6.8%

6.1%

Fan-out WLP Percent of total WLPs

9.5%

10.1%

10.8%

11.5%

11.7%

11.6%

More Information

More information on these array package solutions can be found in New Venture Research’s latest published report, The Array IC Packaging Market. To find out more about this and other reports on IC packaging, please contact Karen Williams at kwilliams@newventureresearch.com, Tel: 1-(408) 244-1100, or Sandra Winkler at slwinkler@newventureresearch.com, Tel: 1-(650) 299-9365.  See newventureresearch.com for information on all the reports from NVR.

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