October 31, 2012, anysilicon
Do you know someone that is not eager to reduce their ASIC production costs? I don’t. Some say that redesign changes can lead to significant cost reduction, for instance – using a more advanced silicon technology node to shrink the die size. True, but this is a really big, painful step with many implications. How about a much simpler method that will let you cut 5% to 15% of your assembly cost? Copper (Cu) Wire Bonding!
A relatively new technology in the package domain, called copper (Cu) wirebonds, involves a simple and straightforward modification to exiting gold-based packages. Whether you use a QFN or BGA wirebond based solution, a simple change could save you lots of money in the long run and allow price optimization from day one.
Until now, the majority of wirebond packages were based on gold (Au) wires, and to be honest, everybody was very pleased. However, the increases in gold prices have resulted in many ASIC suppliers confronting a yearly price increase in their assembly costs.
In fact, assembly houses have already started specifying the gold price level as part of price quotations of Au wirebond-based package. This allows them to correct the package price when the gold price goes up.
While Cu wire introduces a few technical benefits, the main driver of copper wire in the industry is cost.
Overall the copper wire technology is 3 years in full production and over 15B devices have been shipped. Most of the top 4 packaging houses are already supporting cu wirebond technology and will be able to help you save 5%-15% of your package cost.