July - August 1999
eMail the Editor
Can a New, Leadless IC Package Attain "Hula Hoop" Status?
By Ron Iscoff
Sometimes, just when you can't think of anything to write about and you're ready to give up, Providence steps in.
This time Providence took the form of a phone call from Richard Brancato. He is the newly appointed president of ASAT Inc., Fremont, one of the largest IC packaging foundries and a wholly-owned subsidiary of giant QPL International, Hong Kong.
ASAT's assembly work is done in Hong Kong, vertically, in a multi-story skyscraper on that space-constrained little island.
Originally an easterner, Dick Brancato is no newcomer to the IC packaging industry. He's spent quality time with several ASAT competitors, including STATS, Advanced (formerly Astra) Microtronics Technology, and even recalls a hitch at the big daddy of them all-Amkor.
You may also remember him from Motorola, where he was an operations manager. Dick came aboard ASAT last September as sales director.
Why ASAT? And why now? I asked Dick. "I think the ASAT organization is more focused on the customer service side than our competitors," he says "Our engineering group helps the customer design packages right from the very beginning." Typically, IC design engineers formulate a device and then let others worry about how it's going to be packaged, he noted.
It turned out that Dick didn't really want to talk much about his past job history spanning 31 years-or even his management philosophy-as much as he wanted to talk about a new ASAT proprietary package, the Leadless Plastic Chip Carrier (LPCC).
Recently, the industry has been presented with no shortage of new packages-either CSPs or just new variations on conventional themes.
The unique aspect of many new packages, however, is that they're being developed at IC packaging foundries. Within the last year, there have been thousands of words released about proprietary package types from Amkor, ASAT, ASE, Cesar and Pantronix. And there are, no doubt, a half dozen others that I forgot to mention (see "Small Talk" in this issue).
A decade or two ago, it was unusual, if not unheard of, to find any original package engineering being done at a packaging foundry that was not owned by a semiconductor maker. There was plenty of engineering time spent on tweaking die attach machines and wire bonders, but that was part of the internal effort to coax the maximum out of each machine.
Now packaging foundry engineering time, with a view toward a patent or two, is everywhere, witness the LPCC. The ASAT package, Brancato maintains, "is going to be one of the industry leaders in low pincount and the Hula Hoop of the industry." His definition of low pincount: "These LPCCs will work from about 208 pins down," he reported. The LPCC is a near-chip-scale package with several claimed advantages over other types of packaging, including superior thermal properties and better electrical performance.
I asked Dick, "Is this going to be a major profit center?" This is a "relatively inexpensive package, and it will be a very big driver. Our tape BGA and our EDQUAD package also tend to be very much in the forefront," he said.
The EDQUAD, Dick said, "is especially noteworthy for being able to dissipate about the maximum amount of heat that any package can dissipate."
The LPCC "will be a really big workhorse for people in the gallium arsenide industry who need power dissipation in a small package," Dick believes. The LPCC will soon be a JEDEC-registered outline.
Chip Scale Review o 7291 Coronado Drive, Suite 8 o San Jose, CA 95129 o Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|© 1998 ChipScale REVIEW|