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Japan’s Semiconductor Ambitions: JOINT2 Consortium Leads Charge in Advanced Packaging Technologies

Japan is taking strategic steps to bolster its semiconductor back-end process industry, following developments in foundry. A particular focus is the enhancement of advanced packaging technologies like 2.5D and 3D. The Japanese semiconductor packaging consortium, JOINT2, is at the helm of this initiative, looking to expand its member base and reinforce partnerships within the country’s institutions.

On the 21st ORC Manufacturing, a prominent Japanese semiconductor equipment firm, has enlisted in the JOINT2 consortium, spearheaded by Resonac. Renowned as an optical equipment specialist, ORC Manufacturing primarily manufactures ‘Direct Image’, an exposure equipment designed for package substrates.

Established in 2021, JOINT2 aims to foster collaboration in next-generation semiconductor packaging technologies, including 2.5D and 3D. The consortium’s founding members, including Resonac, Ajinomoto, Uemura, Ebara, Shinko Electric Industry, Dainippon Printing, Disco, Tokyo Oka Industry (TOK), Namix, Panasonic Smart Factory Solution, MEC, and Yamaha Robotics Holdings, have recently welcomed ORC Manufacturing as the 13th member of the team.

What sets JOINT2 apart is the involvement of high-tech semiconductor material companies, parts, and equipment firms. Specifically, Resonac and Shinko Electric Industries, renowned for producing vital components for advanced packaging such as thermal interface materials (TIM) and package substrates. With the support of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) under the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, JOINT2 is progressing in the ‘development of advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology’. Its research emphasis includes micro bump bonding technology, micro wiring technology, and high-reliability large-size board technology.

With ORC Manufacturing joining the consortium, the industry anticipates a synergy, particularly with Shinko Electric Industry, a package substrate company. ORC Manufacturing is reportedly working on next-generation ‘Direct Image’ equipment.

In addition, JOINT2 is planning to boost cooperation with Rapidus and the Leading-Edge Semiconductor Technology Center (LSTC), backed by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. The Japanese government, in collaboration with Lapidus, is determined to secure heterogeneous integration (HI) technology, alongside microprocessing.

The entry of Japan into the back-end process industry poses a potential challenge for the global semiconductor industry. Despite Japan’s absence in the foundry and outsourced semiconductor package test (OSAT) companies, it boasts a competitive edge in the semiconductor materials and equipment sectors. While the significance of materials is increasingly becoming pivotal in the back-end process industry due to challenges like heat radiation.

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