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What a fab’s tie-up with packaging and test firm means

Europe is the venue for a new collaboration for semiconductor supply chain advancement at a time of political, industrial, technological, and financial disruptions. Semiconductor packaging and test services provider Amkor Technology is joining hands with GlobalFoundries (GF) to enhance chip manufacturing scale in Europe.

The strategic partnership aims to create an at-scale back-end facility encompassing GF’s fab in Dresden, Europe largest chip manufacturing facility, and Amkor’s outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) services site in Porto, Portugal. GF will transfer 300-mm Bump and Sort lines from its Dresden fab to Amkor’s Porto operations while keeping ownership of its transferred tools, processes, and IPs.

The supply chain pact, primarily targeted at automotive markets, comes at a pivotal time in the semiconductor industry operations. It’ll create the first supply chain outfit outside Asia that encompasses both chip manufacturing and advanced packaging capabilities.

Some of GF’s wafer production in Dresden, Germany will be moved to Porto site in Portugal. Source: Amkor

GF’s foray outside the core fab operations and its collaborative pacts with semiconductor packaging and test companies are nothing new. GF, on its part, calls it Foundry 2.0, an initiative to engage chip ecosystem partners to enable end-to-end solutions. For that, GF has previously tied up with packaging and test outfits like Amkor and Open-Silicon.

However, what’s new is the strategic focus on geographies like Europe and markets like automotive. It’s probably a precursor to a new wave of Europe-centric initiatives that will follow the U.S. undertakings such as the CHIPS Act. Nevertheless, initiatives like this are likely to create supply chain stability and boost transatlantic cooperation among semiconductor ecosystem partners.

The partnership will also bolster the next-generation packaging technologies at a time when semiconductor professionals are increasingly looking at packaging technology innovations to move beyond the IC scaling stumbling blocks. Additionally, the pact between GF and Amkor acknowledges the crucial significance of packaging technology in the semiconductor supply chain.

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