Development prospect of IC carrier boards

IC carrier board, also known as packaging substrate, connects and transfers the bare chip (DIE) and the signal carrier between the PCB, which can be understood as a high-end PCB product. IC carrier board compared to the PCB has higher technical requirements. IC carrier board From the development of HDI (High-Density Interconnect) technology, from the ordinary PCB to the HDI to the SLP (class of the carrier board) to the IC carrier board, the processing accuracy is gradually improved.

IC carrier board due to the main application of IC packaging, its scale of growth along with the semiconductor industry scale growth rate shows some cyclical fluctuations, The 2021 semiconductor industry overall boom continued an upward trend, so also pulled the IC carrier board market scale high growth, growth rate reached a high point in the last decade.

carrier boards

From the downstream application point of view, PC, server, consumer electronics, and communications applications together accounted for 95% of the server/storage with high-performance computing and storage chips on the carrier board demand is the most important growth driver in the future. 2021 PC (high-performance CPU / GPU, $ 4.2 billion, 29%) is still the first major mainstream application, cell phones (SoC / RF, $ 3.6 billion, 25%), servers/storage (high-performance processors/storage, $2.4 billion, 17%), other consumer ($2.1 billion, 15%) followed, the top four applications together accounted for 86% of the share, in addition to communications (wired + wireless, $1.3 billion, 9%) also accounted for a certain share. The future is expected to PC by the epidemic home brought about by the high growth appears to fall back, consumer electronics (cell phones + other) return to stable, server/storage chips for the demand for the carrier board will become the main driving force, the wireless side of the communications and automotive will also have a slightly higher than average growth rate.

IC carrier board there are capital, technology, and customer triple barriers
IC carrier board due to directly connected to the bare chip, it’s manufacturing there are funds (big), technology (difficult), customers (slow) triple barriers.

Capital barriers: IC carrier board is a capital-intensive industry, its complex production process requires a lot of investment in imported equipment, while downstream customers on the carrier board factory certification, production capacity is also one of the requirements of the assessment, the new entrants need to invest a large amount of money, and short-term difficult to see the return.

Technical barriers: IC carrier board connected to the chip, compared with ordinary PCB products, product size is smaller, higher precision, in the line of fine, the size of the hole spacing and signal interference and other aspects of the requirements are very high, so it requires a high degree of precision interlayer alignment technology, plating capabilities, drilling technology. Consumer electronics on the IC carrier board put forward the demand for thin and light short, server products on the IC carrier board put forward the demand for high-density interconnection, the production of the IC carrier board integration of materials, chemistry, machinery, optics, and other fields of technology, in addition to the configuration of advanced equipment, but also need to continue to accumulate the production process and technology, and thus the formation of high technological barriers to the newcomers.

Customer barriers: IC carrier plate downstream mostly large customers, its quality, scale, efficiency, and supply chain security have very high requirements for the carrier plate of such core components procurement generally use the “qualified supplier certification system”, the supplier’s operating network, management system, industry experience, brand reputation have high requirements, certification needs to go through Production system certification, product certification, small order trial, small orders, large orders, and another long-cycle process, such as Samsung’s storage carrier board certification cycle of up to 24 months. After the certification, downstream customers will maintain a long-term relationship with the carrier board factory, the lack of incentive to change suppliers, and the lack of customer base for the new business formed a significant barrier to entry.

IC carrier board has small, high-density, high reliability, and other characteristics, widely used in high-end electronics, such as for aerospace, defense industry, and automobile.

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