Managing 3D IC Supply Chain Complexity and Cost: A Conversation with WWK

“Challenges that need addressing in 2.5D / 3D IC are supply-chain related. The current cost structure for 2.5D / 3D is leveraged by materials and processing equipment.” (Overheard at the GSA Silicon Summit 2013, April 2013.)

Supply chain complexity and cost: it seems to be the theme common to current discussions about implementing 3D IC technology in high-volume manufacturing today.

Consider this: the end-to-end 3D IC business model TSMC proposed in late 2011 has yielded to a new approach in 2013. TSMC is now expanding its service direction to include collaboration with customers in designing a 3D IC supply chain model that may or may not integrate OSATS, at the customer’s discretion.

It sounds more complex, adding links to the 3D IC supply chain, but could TSMC be making this change with an eye toward lowering costs, and hoping thereby to encourage 3D IC time-to-volume?

Or is it that TSMC has an eye on the competition? After all, GLOBALFOUNDRIES has stuck to its guns all along on 3D IC, reiterating its dedication to an open 3D supply chain collaboration that involves the logic foundry, memory foundry, OSAT and customer.

Either way, for 3D IC supply chains to work in concert, start to finish, link to link, reliably delivering quality products to the end customer, all parties involved in the chain need to be on-board and coordinated, despite each party having individual business objectives, and individual practical constraints, that may influence their individual levels of enthusiasm and appetite as supply chain participants.

That situation sounds like it could be messy.

And also sounds like it could be the topic for a great Harvard Business School case study.

Rather than wait for the definitive HBS 3D IC supply chain case study though, here at 3D InCites we decided to take on the topic ourselves.

What are the unifying elements that hold complex 3D IC supply chains together? The only element we can see that could ultimately unify the various companies and cultures in the 3D IC supply chain is … profit.

Unless the various individual elements of the 3D IC supply chain can each see reasonable business benefits to their continued participation, it would take only one ‘weak link’ dropping out for the entire supply chain to be compromised.

Next question: just how can disparate player companies in the 3D IC supply chain ensure that the business side of the equation makes sense for them?

To read the Part 1 of the interview, click on the link below to visit 3D InCite's Web site at

To read the Part 2 of the interview, click on the link below to visit 3D InCite's Web site at

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