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February 8, 2012

David Pfaff, President, Plastronics Socket Company

David Pfaff, President, Plastronics Socket Company
David Pfaff,
President, Plastronics
Socket Company
By this time every year, 2011 reports and 2012 forecasting reports from all the major semiconductor forecasting companies are available, and paint a bleak picture the next two years.

After 1% growth in 2011, most are predicting low single digit growth for 2012. If the semiconductor industry, which is one of the most innovate and capital intensive industries in the world sees little growth year over year for multiple years, the business model will be drastically altered in the future.

In fact, if revenue numbers come in around $300b in semiconductor sales in 2011, this means since the year 2000, the industry has a 4% annual growth rate (with some pretty massive swings). With this means more cost cutting measures to meet bottom line pressures of Wall Street coupled with continual capital and R&D spending to grow top line revenue.

Additionally, as the top 20 semiconductor companies battle for a stagnant pie, expect to see more consolidation and acquisitions of smaller companies that have strongholds in growing niche markets.

For our specific area of the industry, package burn-in and test, we expect to see a continual push into smaller, denser packaging. For single die packages, this means finer pitch down to .3mm. For multi-die, stacked die, and TSV die, this means a greater emphasis on bare die testing.

Development needs to continue to find the right cost models that support full functional test and burn-in for bare die. Depending on the segment of the market, contacting units need to have a stable, low resistance contact over 100,000s of cycles and also support multi-GHz signal speeds. This is not an easy (or inexpensive) task for making contactors for die pads on sub 150 micron spacing.

David Pfaff, President
Plastronics Socket Company