Breaking Boundaries: Semiconductor Back-End Equipment’s Journey Towards Excellence

semiconductor back-end equipment market

In the final stages of semiconductor manufacturing, when integrated circuits are assembled and packaged, the machinery and tools used for that process are called semiconductor back-end equipment. These back-end equipment are required for several processes, such as wafer dicing, die bonding, wire bonding, encapsulation, and testing. In several back-end semiconductor manufacturing processes, servo drives are used because of their repeatability and performance.

The technology that is required for developing the back-end process of semiconductor manufacturing consists of high throughput and extreme precision and accuracy. The flip chip or solder bump is a modern alternative for the wire bonding process as it provides better manufacturing speed and a smaller overall package size.

Global Production Trends

The production of semiconductors is growing with the rise in applications across several industries. These industries include consumer electronic devices such as wearables and smart home devices like smart TVs and PCs. The demand for these products raises the demand for efficient, high-processing-power, and smaller-footprint semiconductor chips in the market. The semiconductor back-end equipment is necessary for the production process of semiconductors; therefore, it is predicted to contribute to its market growth.

In recent years, there has been a notable increase in the popularity and penetration of smartphones. These devices are becoming more important in the consumer’s daily life, and they require integrated circuit semiconductor chips during the manufacturing process. This is achieved by increasing the production of semiconductor chips using better back-end equipment for faster production and matching the growing demand for these devices.

As this semiconductor device has so many applications in several industries and with the rising popularity of AI technology in the market and chipsets required for its implementation, the demand for increasing semiconductor production has seen rapid growth. For instance, several key players in the semiconductor production industry are taking initiatives to invest heavily in back-end equipment to increase the rate of production and match the growing global demand for semiconductors.

Semiconductor back-end equipment use case

The semiconductor back-end equipment has several use cases that are boosting their production and global market. These use cases include the assembly and packaging of semiconductors integrated circuits in the final stages of the production process of semiconductors. This is an important part of the manufacturing process and needs high efficiency and accuracy to assemble the integrated circuits in the semiconductors. The demand for semiconductors is rising due to their various application across several industries.

The growing popularity of several industries that demand high-efficiency semiconductors is leading key players in semiconductor manufacturing processes to increase production speed by using high-quality and efficient back-end equipment in the manufacturing process. The high-quality back-end equipment is efficient, precise, high-speed, and accurate during the manufacturing process. This increase in the production speed of semiconductors matches the growing global demand for semiconductors. For instance, according to SIA or Semiconductor Industry Association, the global sales of semiconductors for August 2023 reached US $44 billion.

The global sales of semiconductors positively affect the semiconductor back-end equipment as they increase the production rate of semiconductors significantly. For instance, the global sales of semiconductors in the year 2021 were US $102.5 billion and reached US $ 117.5 billion in 2022.

Figure 1:  Global Semiconductor Sales Growth in US$ Billion, 2021-2023

semiconductor sales growth


Market Dynamics and Drivers

Several factors drive the semiconductor back-end equipment market, including a rise in the application of semiconductors in several consumer electronics, the automobile industry, and AI chipsets in recent times. This, coupled with the rise in demand for efficient and high-speed back-end equipment to match the growing amount of global demand for semiconductors, has contributed significantly to boosting the overall market. Additionally, with the rapid growth in popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) and AI technology in recent years the need for semiconductors is rising proportionally. The back-end equipment is used for packaging and assembling the integrated circuits in semiconductors. Using these back-end equipment for high accuracy and precision benefits the overall production growth. Therefore, with a rise in demand for these consumer electronics products in the market, the market is anticipated to grow.

The development and innovation in electric vehicles across the automotive industry is one of the growth factors in the semiconductor back-end equipment market. The introduction of electric vehicles has significantly grown the number of semiconductors needed for the electric components of the vehicles and features like auto lane parking and integration of AI assistants into the vehicle. The rising popularity of these EVs is going to positively affect the overall market growth. Furthermore, AI technology has been gaining popularity across the globe, and the implementation of AI technology needs AI chipsets, which require semiconductors to make. Therefore, with these contributing factors, the semiconductor back-end equipment market is anticipated to grow.

The variety of applications of semiconductors across several industries is a major market driver for the global back-end equipment market for high and efficient semiconductor production. For instance, the segmentation for the use of semiconductors in the market is 42% for the automotive industry, 18% for healthcare, and 6% for consumer electronics.

Figure 2:  Semiconductor Users by Primary Market Segment in %

semiconductor users by primary market


Market Constraints

Despite the huge advantages and use cases of semiconductor back-end equipment, the companies that manufacture them face a lot of challenges with significant improvements being made in manufacturing techniques and keeping up with that improving technology which is getting complex. The requirement for the right skillful labor that can understand the complex process of manufacturing semiconductors can also be a huge hindrance to market growth.

The process of manufacturing semiconductors requires knowledge and skills to transform raw materials into finished products, and several manufacturing units are facing a shortage of the right skillful labor. Therefore, these high complexities of the production process and shortage of skillful labor can hinder overall semiconductor back-end equipment market growth.

Emerging Opportunities and Innovations

Despite the challenges, the semiconductor back-end equipment market presents numerous opportunities for innovation and growth. Advances in its applications across various industries, such as automotive and consumer electronics, are the major reason for that. Therefore, semiconductor manufacturers require new facilities to match the rising global demand and are investing heavily in new manufacturing units to expand the production of semiconductors. The production process involves complex network firms that design these semiconductor chips as they can power several consumer electronics. Therefore, these new production units for semiconductors are fueling semiconductor back-end equipment market growth.

Key Developments

  • In February 2023, Intel announced their plan to increase the initial investment the company made in Vietnam of US $1.5 billion to expand the semiconductor chips testing and packaging operation in the southeast Asia region.
  • In December 2022, Canon Inc. announced the launch of the FPA-5520iV LF2 option for the semiconductor lithography system back-end process, which can enable the mass production of dense circuitry with exposure fields of up to 100 mm x 100 mm.
  • In April 2022, ASML announced the installation of its HMI eScan 1100, which can increase throughput by up to 15 times and provide high-volume manufacturing.

In conclusion, the semiconductor back-end equipment market presents significant opportunities for growth and innovation, driven by the increasing popularity of consumer electronics and applications across various industries, like the growing popularity of AI technology and electric vehicles. While facing challenges such as growing advancements and complexity in the manufacturing process of semiconductors and the high precision and accuracy needed for manufacturing, the industry is poised to capitalize on technological advancements and innovations to meet the needs of a growing global demand for semiconductor back-end equipment.