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Dec 13th, 2012
Rudolph enters back-end lithography market with break through total solution for advanced packaging
Rudolph acquires Azores Corp. and unveils JetStep — a revolutionary 2x reduction stepper total lithography system.
Rudolph Technologies, a leading provider of process characterization equipment and software for wafer fabs and advanced packaging facilities, announced today that it has entered the back-end advanced packaging lithography market with the new JetStep™ Lithography System, a disruptive innovation featuring a 2X reduction stepper. With the acquisition of Wilmington, Massachusetts-based Azores Corp. (Azores), a leader in the design, development, manufacture and support of steppers for display products, Rudolph is spurring an industry revolution by launching a game-changing total lithography solution for the semiconductor advanced packaging market based on Azores’ patented and established stepper technology and Rudolph’s significant back-end expertise.
• Advanced packaging is in the early stages of dynamic growth; Yole Développement has forecast demand for equipment and related tools in the 3DIC and wafer-level packaging area to grow from approximately $370 million in 2010 to over $2.5 billion by 2016 at a CAGR of 38 percent over that period.
The next-generation JetStep Lithography System is a revolutionary 2X reduction step-and-repeat tool, designed to give better device yields, higher throughput, and most importantly a lower cost-of-ownership today, while providing the basis for pursuing the challenges of a solid technical roadmap tomorrow. This transformative technology represents a paradigm shift for the industry and provides a total lithography solution that is fully customizable to the varying technical requirements of each customer, enabling them to more effectively compete in the high-growth advanced packaging market.
Azores Acquisition Significantly Expands Rudolph’s Business Model
Consumer mobile connectivity devices like tablets and smart phones demand increased functionality, lower power and smaller form factors. Advanced packaging helps drive all three of these requirements. Consequently, both semiconductor manufacturers and OSAT providers need partners that deliver leading-edge, back-end technology along with complete process solutions. “Specifically, the advanced packaging market needs a stepper supplier willing to be flexible and capable of delivering unique solutions for their requirements, and a process control partner that can deliver improved production systems for advanced packaging applications,” McLaughlin noted. “By leveraging R&D investments from both the Rudolph and Azores organizations, we took a field-proven 2X display lithography technology and applied it to the needs of the high-growth back-end packaging market where Rudolph already has long-standing customer relationships and global brand recognition. In short, we have changed the game.”
Azores’ President Elvino da Silveira noted, “This acquisition is the culmination of a rewarding partnership, and we are extremely proud to join forces with a company of Rudolph Technologies’ stature. Since 2010, Rudolph and Azores have been collaborating to develop a total lithography solution specifically geared to the needs of the advanced packaging industry. We are particularly excited to be at the forefront of a technical innovation that is advancing tomorrow’s lithographic printing technology. Our corporate lineage has roots from the early days of step-and-repeat lithography at GCA Corporation and MRS Technology–both industry pioneers–and for the past 13 years, Azores has been a leading technical expert for custom flat panel display lithography tools.”
Advanced Packaging Total Lithography Solution Now Provided From a Single Supplier
Advanced packaging requires emerging capabilities from steppers to accommodate the needed design changes demanded by new technologies such as TSV, eWLB, silicon and glass interposers and other advanced wafer-level packaging solutions now being developed. Rudolph’s total lithography solution is already capable of addressing a number of these manufacturing challenges, including wafer flatness, automated partial field exposures and best-in-breed resolution. In addition, with its flat panel lithography heritage, the JetStep System incorporates Azores’ high precision grid motor stage. This energy efficient, patented stage technology provides a flexible platform that can be readily scaled to changing substrate sizes and types in the advanced packaging market. It can handle both standard and reconstituted 300mm and 330mm wafers, all panel sizes and is 450mm capable.
Acquisition Furthers Rudolph’s Overall Growth Strategy
“More than Moore is the driver of 3D packaging, and Rudolph is strategically fast forwarding lithography and accelerating our business solidly into the future,” said McLaughlin. “Advanced packaging is a key financial driver for Rudolph’s growth and this acquisition is specifically geared to further advance our prospects in this fast growing market. By partnering with Azores, Rudolph leverages an established presence in the semiconductor advanced packaging market (back-end expertise), and extends Azores’ lithography expertise. The result is an expanded business model for addressing lithography in the advanced packaging market. That business model has several unique features for creating, delivering and capturing value–the primary one of which is our 2X reduction stepper, JetStep.”
McLaughlin concluded, “Rudolph is the industry leader in the high-growth back-end macro defect inspection market, which is being fueled by advanced wafer-level packaging. Our exposure to both front-end and back-end markets gives us a powerful competitive advantage by leveraging front-end core competencies in yield management technologies and techniques to back-end markets, which now comprises nearly half of Rudolph’s business.”
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