Thu, Sep 19, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Innolux, ITRI developing FOPLP

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Industrial Technology Research Institute Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories vice president Lee Cheng-chung, left, and Innolux Corp technology development center associate vice president Wei Chung-kuang hold a sign at the SEMICON Taiwan show in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Mei-ying, Taipei Times

Innolux Corp (群創) yesterday said it is developing fan-out panel-level packaging (FOPLP) technology for semiconductors with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院).

“We believe fan-out technology would create new growth opportunities for Innolux. TSMC [Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, 台積電] has set a good example. There is a growing trend for the semiconductor industry to adopt fan-out technology,” C. K. Wei (韋忠光), an associate vice president of Innolux’s technology development center, told reporters at the SEMICON Taiwan show in Taipei.

TSMC uses fan-out wafer-level packaging technology, which is more expensive than the panel-level packaging technology developed by ITRI in terms of unit costs, Wei said.

The glass panels Innolux’s 3.5G uses are seven times larger than the 12-inch wafers TSMC uses, he said.

Innolux plans to utilize one of its 3.5G plants to develop FOPLP technology with ITRI and become the world’s first panelmaker to deploy the technology, Wei said.

It aims to commercialize the technology within three years, targeting chips used in smartphones and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, Wei said.

Innolux has a competitive advantage over chip testing and packaging firms in offering fan-out technology, he said.

“We can leverage our LCD technology and reuse existing equipment, such as mask aligners, which would be an expensive investment for newcomers,” Wei said.

Innolux will only have to invest a small amount of capital to commercialize the technology, he said.

It has also secured several millions of dollars from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to finance its expansion into the semiconductor industry, he said.

Innolux operates 11 less advanced fabs (3.5G, 4G and 6G ) and three advanced ones (8.6G and 7G).

The company has since 2016 worked to rejuvenate its older plants as it has become less cost-efficient to make flat panels at those fabs.

It has also adjusted some production lines to manufacture higher-margin fingerprint sensors, chip-on-film packaging and mini LED displays.

Meanwhile, Powertech Technology Inc (力成科技) is the front-runner among semiconductor firms in investing in panel-based fan-out technology.

It has a five-year NT$50 billion (US$1.6 billion) investment plan for the technology, which began last year, and is to ramp up production in the second half of next year.

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