Intel surprised the press when they “opened the door” to visit the chip manufacturing and packaging process at its factory in Penang – Malaysia.
Not yet impressed with the sharing of new strategies related to semiconductor technology such as IDM 2.0, Intel Foundry Services, Intel surprised the global press when they “opened the door” for us to see a close-up of the chip production and packaging processes in modern factories located in Malaysia.
Prior to the tour, TechTimes itself didn’t envision what semiconductor manufacturing would be like, maybe it would be that simple! In fact, this cycle is broken down into many stages such as “preprocessing” to produce the wafer that will be the circuit board of the semiconductor chip. The wafers produced during this pretreatment are broken down into chips and packaged into a commercial product. The final cycle is divided into two sub-processes called “post-processing” to prepare the product ready to be shipped to the customer.
Let’s start the tour with us !
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT THE FACTORY IN BAYAN LEPAS AND KULIM
With a period of 2 days (August 21-22, 2023), Intel organized a tour of factories and the Design and Development Lab research and development center located at “Penang Hi-tech Campus” in High-tech Bayan Lepas – Penang State, Malaysia. This is also the place where the “back-end process” is located for Intel products before they go to market. In addition, Intel also gave the press a tour of the System Integration and Manufacturing Services – SIMS test facility for the first time, prepared and built the KMDSDP “Die Sort Die Prep” microprocessor located in Kulim industrial park.
Intel’s offices in Malaysia consist of two campuses, the Penang Campus and the Kling Campus, each consisting of buildings with different functions. This time, Intel welcomed journalists to visit 3 buildings on the Penang campus: PG7/PG8 (assembly-packaging plant) and PG15/PG16 (design development laboratory).
Although the names of these buildings appear to be in order, they are in fact the names of buildings that go back a long time.
For example, a building codenamed “Pelican” is currently under construction to be a new advanced packaging assembly plant, but that Pelican is built on the site of the old PG1. According to the tour guide, PG1 is located on the first A1 site built by Intel decades ago, this building has been demolished and rebuilt, so “PG1” is no longer available.
This includes buildings like the slated Pelican, but there are a total of 16 buildings on both campuses, with a campus area of about 650,000 m2, of which about 185,000 m2 are reserved for production processes. Through the factory’s glass door, TechTimes noticed that the building is under construction and may be completed soon. It is known that this building will be used to complete Intel’s most modern packaging process using artificial intelligence.
CPU ASSEMBLY PROCESS
This time, the PGAT (PenanG Assembly and Test) at PG7/PG8 and the Design and Development Lab at PG18 were opened to the press from the APJ region (Asia Pacific and Japan). Although the facility is open to the public to visit, the inside of the plant and research institute is the semiconductor manufacturer’s CONFIDENTIAL. Therefore, all journalists are not allowed to bring cameras, phones, recording equipment, camcorders… Therefore, all pictures inside the factory from now on are taken and provided by Intel.
The main site consists of two buildings in the Penang Campus, PG7 and PG8, which act as a package assembly plant named PGAT (PenanG Assembly and Test) and validation (verify operations).
Simply put, package assembly can be thought of as the process of attaching the CPU die to the sub-board. The dies have been separated from the wafer into molds at another factory and brought to the PGAT which are assembled on subboards, soldered to an integrated heatsink (IHS) or TIM (Thermal Interface Material) for heat circulation. degree.
- First, the dies that have been cut from the wafer into the chip in a separate process are closed in the form of a tape. The chip is then removed from the tape and attached to the sub-board. At this stage, not only the die but also the peripheral chip (such as a capacitor) is attached.
- The next step is to spray Epoxy (super-adhesive in chip manufacturing): The epoxy resin is injected so that the mold does not come off the side panel even if it is bent.
- Lid Attach: The process of attaching the IHS/TIM radiator is done by machine after applying thermal paste on the mold.
- High voltage test (Burn-in): This step is to test whether the chip can work when current is passed, even the steps of “squeezing” with high temperature and voltage are also performed to Make sure the chip is working properly.
- After that, many more tests are performed to collect the data for later retrieval.
- The next step of PPV (Platform Performance Validation) is performed right on the mainboard by assuming the environment actually used by the end user. The operating system is also installed and checked to see if the chip is working.
According to Intel experts, because these processes take a lot of time if done manually by humans, an automatic chip-swap device supports both PGA and BGA (BGA uses a special device that can be attached to the chip’s motherboard without soldering). This is done automatically by a pre-programmed robot.
To be continued… The next part we will “break into” Intel’s design and development lab!