A wafer is a thin slice of semi-conductor material. Dicing is the process which is used to cut, or groove semiconductors, glass, crystal, and many other types of material. The instrument used during this process is known as dicing equipment. The dicing technologies are constantly evolving due to the rising demand in thinner wafers and stronger die, thereby making a significant impact on the dicing equipment industry. Grinding is the procedure in which wafer thickness is reduced according to the needs of different industries such as electronics, automotive, and communication devices, among others. The thin wafer market is expected to grow at a steady pace in the forecast period.
The demand for thin wafers is mainly driven by increasing demand in consumer electronics. The new configurations in consumer electronics such as compact memory and wireless devices are triggering the need for thinning wafer and dicing technology as well. High interconnect density, better electrical performance, and reduced size are some of the factors behind the growth trend of the market. Thinning technology, the key technology to obtain miniaturization, is propelled by the growing need of ultra-thin wafers in packaging, communication devices, and smart cards, among others.
However, the key restraint in thin wafer processing industry arises when thickness decrease to <100µm. Ultra-thin wafers are susceptible to breakages. For the dicing equipment industry, the thin wafers are creating serious challenges such as low die strength, dicing damage, handling issues, and chipping. Furthermore, efficiency maintenance becomes harder as the wafer size decreases. Nonetheless, growing demand in industries such as automotive, telecommunication in addition to consumer electronics is likely to fuel the thin wafer processing and dicing equipment market. In the coming years, as the chips get thinner and wafers get smaller, there would be a high demand for wafer processing. Asia Pacific is likely to show the largest growth in the thin wafer processing and dicing equipment market.
The thin wafer market can be segmented based on thickness, application, and wafer size. The dicing technology can be classified based on technology. The thin wafer processing and dicing equipment market can be segmented based on application, and geography.
Based on thickness, thin wafer market has three segments: 125mm, 200µm, and 300mm. According to wafer size, the market is divided into six divisions namely 3 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch, and 12 inch. The dicing technology can broadly be classified into blade dicing, laser dicing, and plasma dicing. The most common dicing technology used is blade dicing which accounts to about 80% of dicing requirement. According to application, the thin wafer processing and dicing equipment market can be divided into Logic and Memory, MEMS (Micro-electromechanical systems), Power Devices, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and CIS (CMOS Image Sensors). Based on regions, the thin wafer processing and dicing equipment market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. A combination of blade dicing and laser dicing is used in Memory and Logic. MEMS and RFID rely primarily on blade and plasma dicing respectively. Lately, companies are showing interest in laser and plasma dicing.
The rising demand in consumer electronics market is expected to drive the demand of thin wafers, thereby pushing the demand for the thin wafer processing and dicing equipment. The technological advancement in countries such as China, South Korea, and Taiwan coupled with cheap labor and favorable economic conditions, is likely to add to the factors responsible for growth in the Asia Pacific region.
The major players in the market are Plasma Therm(U.S), SPTS (Israel), DelphiLaser (China), and ASM Pacific Tech Ltd. (Hong Kong). Other companies are Han’s Laser (China), DISCO (Japan), Accretech (Japan), Neontech (Korea), and NPMT(Taiwan).