Intel partners with 14 companies in Japan to make new tech, automate semiconductor packaging

Intel will partner with 14 Japanese companies to develop technology to automate the 'back-end' chipmaking processes, including packaging.

1 minute & 51 seconds read time

Intel has plans to partner with 14 different Japanese companies to develop technology to automate "back-end" chipmaking processes, like advanced packaging.

Intel partners with 14 companies in Japan to make new tech, automate semiconductor packaging 98

In a new report from Nikkei, the US and Japan are looking to cut geopolitical risks to their semiconductor supply chains. The deal would involve electronics maker Omron, Yamaha Motor, and materials supplier Resonac and Shin-Etsu Polymer, will be led by the head of Intel's Japanese business: Kunimasa Suzuki.

This new group will invest tens of billions of yen (with 10 million yen = $65 million USD or so) that will develop the technologies in a working state by 2028. Nikkei reports that with the advances in front-end operations including circuit formation start to approach their physical limits, competition is brewing in back-end steps like stacking chips to improve performance.

The new Intel-led group will start a trial back-end production line in Japan over the coming years, with the goal of full automation. The company is also looking into standardizing back-end technology, enable manufacturing, inspection, and handling equipment to all be managed, and controlled by a single system.

The Japanese market is important for Intel, and the world, with Japanese companies holding a combined share of around 30% of semiconductor production equipment, and a larger 50% share of semiconductor materials, according to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The hope is that back-end automation is to compensate for Japan's "dearth of chip engineers," report Nikkei, as big fabrication facilities from the likes of TSMC are taking all of the best chip engineers.

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