Fab equipment maker Protec is expected to see its sales expand as a contract that limited the sales of its laser assisted bonder (LAB) expired last month, TheElec has learned.
LAB is used to attach the chip die on the board during packaging using a laser.
Most chip dies are attached boards using infrared reflow machines, which act like ovens where the board carrying the die moves through them through a belt to get heated.
The chip dies and boards are exposed to heat for five to seven minutes, sometimes causing warpage or non-wet, or the bonding isn’t finished properly. For advanced chips that use thin package boards, the problem becomes more serious.
LAB however uses a laser for only one to two seconds to bond the chip die to the board, solving this dilemma.
Protec collaborated with a US-based outsourced semiconductor assembly and test company for years to develop the LAB.
The pair however signed a contract that limits the sales of the LAB to certain customers.
Chip giant TSMC and other OSAT companies had sought to buy the equipment from Protec but were unable to due to this, sources said.
In light of this, at the time, TSMC bought two units of a similar machine made by South Korean laser firm Laserssel, bought didn’t buy any more units.
Sources said the contract expired in mid-May, meaning Protec can now sell to customers such as TSMC or Apple, which also showed strong interest in the technology.
LAB accounted for around 5% of Protec’s annual revenue as of last year.
A Protec spokesperson said it was aiming to increase this to over 30% in the long term.