Intel issued a press release publicly acknowledging the contribution from its factory in Vietnam to the rest of the plant network to make up for the shortage of substrates. As it reveals, this is due to an innovative approach to substrate processing at its assembly and test facility. Accordingly, Intel delivered million additional units of chip production over the past year, meeting customer demand as the industry struggled to overcome shortages of this critical component (PCB).
“This initiative is a great example of how integrated manufacturing is critical to Intel’s success. Our global network of factories and supplier ecosystem directly enable a more adaptable and resilient product supply. Last year, when substrates have spread across the industry, our ability to leverage in-house capability has generated more than $2 billion in revenue for Intel, allowing us to respond with agility to meet dynamic customer demand,” said said Keyvan Esfarjani, executive vice president and global COO of Intel.
Since the start of the global pandemic, the surge in IT demand has placed the semiconductor industry at the epicenter of unprecedented supply chain disruptions. This has created a shortage of key components for chip manufacturing, including an essential part of nearly every advanced processor in the world: the Ajinomoto Accumulation Film (ABF) substrate.
Before a computer chip leaves the factory, it is mounted between a substrate and a heat sink to form a complete processor. This “package” protects the chip and forms the electrical connections between the processor and the circuit board of a computer. At first glance, the substrate looks like nothing more than a thin piece of green plastic. It’s actually made up of about 10 layers of fiberglass, each held together by a complex web of metal interconnects. A silicon chip must be placed a few microns (a fraction of the thickness of a human hair) to align with the electrical connections, allowing signals to flow from the motherboard through the substrate to the chip and back. .
Among the key elements of substrates are capacitors, devices capable of storing electrical charge. Capacitors reduce noise and impedance and maintain a constant voltage across the chip. For years, Intel attached some capacitors to one side of the substrate and relied on substrate vendors to attach them to the other side. Now, Intel attaches these components to both sides of the substrate at its assembly and test facility in Vietnam (VNAT). To enable this capability, the VNAT team has dedicated factory space, purchased additional tools and modified existing ones to prepare for high-volume production, which begins in May 2021.
“This is the ultimate demonstration of why integrated manufacturing is a benefit to Intel and our customers,” said Kim Huat Ooi, vice president and general manager of Intel Products Vietnam. “By bringing this capability in-house, we are able to complete chip assembly more than 80% faster, while freeing up capacity-constrained substrate vendors. Last year, we demonstrated that it This is a scalable manufacturing process with quality matching that of our substrate suppliers, and in the future we plan to further expand our capabilities to enable this approach for a wider range of products.
Intel Products Vietnam (IPV) is the largest assembly and test facility in the Intel manufacturing network. With over 2,800 employees and a total investment of $1.5 billion, it is the largest US high-tech investment in Vietnam. By the end of 2021, IPV had shipped over 3 billion units to Intel customers globally since operations began 15 years ago.