Unit Level Traceability at the Die Level
Supply Chain Benefits
Semiconductor failures can occur at various stages, from fabrication to packaging, handling, and even during transportation. The interplay of intricate manufacturing processes, material properties, and external factors makes it challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of failure without a systematic approach. The complexity of semiconductor failures necessitates a comprehensive analysis framework capable of uncovering the underlying root causes.
End to End Traceability
Semiconductor unit level traceability refers to tracking and tracing individual semiconductor units (such as integrated circuits or microprocessors) throughout their entire lifecycle, from production to end-of-life.
The labelling on the die is an effective tool to prevent counterfeiting.
Keep Essential Information
This can include information such as the manufacturer, date of production, batch number, and any other relevant details. The goal of unit level traceability is to ensure the authenticity, integrity, and quality of the semiconductor units and to provide supply chain transparency
Unit-Level Traceability (ULT) and Automotive Standards
Functional safety standards, such as IATF 16949 standard, mandates traceability for safety-related systems.
Challenge with Unit-Level Traceability (ULT)
The Benefits of Unit-Level Traceability and the challenge with new semiconductor designs in the Semiconductor Supply Chain
Unit-level traceability (ULT) in the semiconductor supply chain has proven to be a valuable solution, particularly when implemented by Outsourced Assembly and Test (OSAT) providers through the use of DataMatrix labeling on printed circuit boards (PCBs). This article focuses on how ULT has benefited the supply chain, specifically in reducing issues related to recalls.
1- Reduction in Recall Issues:
The implementation of ULT through DataMatrix labeling on PCBs has played a crucial role in mitigating issues related to recalls. OSAT providers can track and trace individual components throughout the supply chain by uniquely identifying each semiconductor unit with a DataMatrix code. In the event of a recall, the precise identification of affected units enables targeted actions, reducing the scope and financial impact of recalls while ensuring end-users’ safety.
2- Transition away from Black Packaging:
Root cause analysis is not a one-time activity but a continuous learning and improvement process. By implementing a feedback loop incorporating the findings from failure investigations, manufacturers and industry stakeholders can continually enhance their operations, refine their designs, and develop new techniques to mitigate failure risks. This iterative approach promotes innovation, drives industry advancement, and strengthens semiconductor devices’ overall reliability and performance.
3- Challenges in Implementing Effective ULT:
While some organizations, like AMCOR, have embraced ULT through the use of DataMatrix, many others have provided only partial identification, such as part numbers or series codes on the PCB. Achieving comprehensive ULT depends on the collaboration between OSAT providers and the introduction of 2D chips or chiplets, where multiple dies from different fabs are combined. This evolution in semiconductor design and production necessitates a heightened need for traceability at the die level, ensuring thorough tracking and monitoring throughout the entire manufacturing and supply chain process.
4- Importance of Die-Level Traceability:
The increasing utilization of chiplets and mixed die from different fabs by fabless designers has amplified the need for traceability at the die level. With the diverse origins of chiplets and the complex interactions between different dies, maintaining traceability throughout the production cycle is crucial for identifying and resolving potential issues or failures. Die-level traceability allows for precise Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and targeted corrective actions, enhancing semiconductor components’ overall reliability and quality.
Unit-level traceability, enabled by DataMatrix labeling on PCBs, has significantly benefited the semiconductor supply chain, particularly in reducing issues related to airbag recalls. The transition away from black packaging to accommodate more complex semiconductors necessitates alternative methods of unit-level identification. Implementing effective ULT requires collaboration between OSAT providers, the introduction of 2D chips or chiplets, and a heightened focus on traceability at the die level. By embracing these advancements and ensuring thorough traceability, the semiconductor industry can enhance product reliability, mitigate risks, and meet the growing demand for high-quality and traceable semiconductor components.