Developing and strengthening 3D IC manufacture in Europe

March 01, 2013 // By Julien Happich
The European 3D TSV Summit that took place at Grenoble's Minatec campus late February gathered 320 attendees from over 20 countries, a testimony of Grenoble’s high tech reputation and France’s competitive edge in the field of 3D IC integration.

“There were only local summits so far”, explained Heinz Kundert, President of SEMI Europe, “and this is truly the first time that a conference on 3D Through Silicon Vias (TSV) receives such a global attention, from key European players but also from outside Europe”. “A lot has been spent on R&D and Europe has very good universities, but we also need to maintain a critical mass in IC manufacturing in Europe, otherwise, we could lose our knowhow and critical edge” continued Kundert.

There are many issues that need to be addressed for 3D IC manufacture, and now is the chance for Europe to bring IC production back from Asia, according to Kundert. “In highly automated fabs, it may no longer be economical to produce ICs in Asia, especially with all the associated costs of staff travel, and complex machine parts imports/exports”, Kundert highlighted. In fact, there is a reverse relocation trend happening, from Asia to Europe and to the US.

As a global semiconductor industry association, SEMI Europe's role is also to ensure that its members can compete with the Asian and American industry on fair grounds, with the same sort of tax reliefs and energy deals, but also with more education in electronics.

In that sense, the European 3D TSV Summit’s recent success helps raise the semiconductor industry’s visibility and get the message across the European Commission. SEMI Europe documents the industry and negotiates with the European Commission on behalf of its members.

“The European Commission has now understood that semiconductors represent a key enabling technology for growth in Europe, and this needs to be supported not only with spending in R&D, but also by financing pilot production lines. We are here to raise the issues and to provide a single European strategy for the semiconductor industry, comforting our members that they have a future in Europe” concluded Kundert.

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