Solvay's Innovative Polymers Materials Cuts Cost in Semiconductor and Optoelectronic Industry

LEDinside interviewed Dr. Luke Du, the company’s newly assigned managing director and executive vice president for the Asia region, David Ho, director global marketing of the company’s semiconductor division, and Zhang Jun, the company’s sales director for the Taiwan and South-East markets.

From the exterior plastic smartphone case, wearable device wrist bands, semiconductors IC packaging, specialty material for crucial optoelectronic components to aeronautics and military applications, there are several large chemical manufacturers striving to provide better innovative products to their clients. Over the years they have significantly transformed people’s living experience. Among them, Solvay Specialty Polymers, a business of Belgian chemical company Solvay Corporate is one of the leading companies in the sector that has applied its products in all sorts of applications related to human lives. The company provides 1,500 high performance polymers, including fluoropolymers, fluoroelastomers, fluorinated fluids, semi-aromatic polyamides, sulfone polymers, aromatic ultra-high performance polymers, high‑barrier polymers and cross-linked high-performance compounds.

LEDinside interviewed three senior Solvay Specialty Polymers senior managers about the trends and development in materials application in highly-related optoelectronics and semiconductor industry. The managers interviewed include Dr. Luke Du, the company’s newly assigned managing director and executive vice president for the Asia region, David Ho, director global marketing of the company’s semiconductor division, and Zhang Jun, the company’s sales director for the Taiwan and South-East markets.

The most important development of Specialty Polymers is to reduce carbon footprint and improve manufacturing process with lower cost and higher production yield rate.

According to Du, over the past year, the company’s Specialty Polymers Business has been focused on R&D and innovation of light-weighted materials to enhance its purity and reliability, while lowering costs for client applications. They are also striving to further increase production yield rates. Meanwhile, semiconductor industry relies on various high-performance materials to successfully manufacture LED chips for a host of applications encompassing wafer processing, fluid handling, lubrication, pipe insulation, exhaust ducting and waste disposal.

Solvay showcased its innovative specialty polymers in
Semicon Taiwan 2015. (Photo Courtesy of Solvay)

In semiconductor manufacturing for example, to cut gas usage manufacturers need to be able to rapidly deposit high purity materials onto the semiconductor’s IC, said Du. The new production process is shorter than previous methods, manufacturers also have better control over product yield rates, which can reduce carbon footprint, and raises overall energy saving level, which is important to the semiconductor industry to realize its environmental friendly goal.

Currently, a typical wafer manufacturing process comprises more than 12 procedures from lithography, etching and vapor deposition to chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP), oxidation, ion implantation and diffusion, these processes are repeated many times during the manufacturing process. Solvay’s Specialty Polymers new technology process is capable of packing modules in high density on minuscule surfaces. All these require materials with outstanding durability, chemical and heat resistance in both fabrication and use. These solutions are completed by Solvay’s global labs R&D and innovative technology. According to Ho, the company’s ten R&D and innovation centers spanning across three continents are focused on designing specialized solutions.

In a cleanroom environment, the materials properties and details of different production process rely on the cooperation of wafer plant, equipment plant, and material supplier. It requires great attention of every details to produce successful products for wide application.

Galden perfluoropolyether (PFPE) fluids can be used as boiler fluids, or for heat transfer applications has operating temperatures ranges between 55°C to 270°C, and meets operating temperature application requirements ranging from -100°C to +290°C. These fluids show very low rate of evaporation which shows it can be used efficiently and in low volumes compared to products with high evaporation rates, and effectively improve processing efficiency.

This also includes ethylene-chlorotrifluoroethylene copolymer (ECTFE), Hyflon PFA and SPVDF, materials of IC production. Other than that, Solvay also provides material for flexible components of crucial packing like the FKM/FFKM Tecnoflon.

Solvay reflectors has greatest market share among its LED material products

There are many LED manufacturers in China and Taiwan that need reflectors when making LED package products, said Zhang. Solvay provides ideal material called Lavanta HPP. Lavanta HPP is a polymer that has outstanding heat-resistance, light-weight and long lifetimes, which can be used in the LED backlight applications for LCD TVs.

Du stated Lavanta HPP can also be used in outdoor LED lighting applications to meet weather-resistance demands. The adoption of Lavanta HPP can also increase lighting reliability controls, while applying the material in commercial lighting, indoor lighting and other applications. The junction temperatures are controlled below 100°C.

Additionally, Lavanta 5115 WH 011 which comprises 15% of fiberglass is especially designed for LED applications, and can be used in Surface-Mounted- Device (SMD) LED to achieve optimal 95% reflectivity and outstanding heat resistance. The Lavanta 5115 WH 011 is also beneficial for the production of light-weighted LED components.

Solvay Specialty Polymers Optimistic about Market Growth Potential for Asia’s Semiconductor and Optoelectronics industries

Solvay Specialty Polymers also shared their outlook for the semiconductor market. Over the past few years Asian semiconductor, optoelectronics and LED supply chains have all seen soaring growth, and completed development standards, including Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Meanwhile, they are also very confident about Southeast Asian market performance, especially Indonesia and Vietnam. They are convinced that the two countries economic growth will surpass Thailand and Malaysia. Although many manufacturers are deploying market strategies in semiconductor and related industries in India, it will take several years before the domestic infrastructure is ready. Solvay also has a branch in India to fulfill future demand.

Solvay has 15 manufacturing bases around the globe that provides clients a wide range of materials. The company has nearly 500 scientists and experts, who frequently assist, and cooperate with clients to develop new materials for client’s manufacturing process.

The Asian market has become Solvay Specialty Polymers’ largest market in terms of sales revenue, amounting to 36% of global market revenue, which outweighs Europe’s 35%, while the U.S. market only consists 26% of the total sales revenue.

In recent years, Solvay Specialty Polymers in Asia mainly focuses on pure material solution, including semiconductor, aeronautics, smartphone, water treatment, new energy, medical and health care. The company is also strengthening its team members in the Asia Pacific region.

Du said, “We strive to provide innovative materials for our clients to produce with safety, high efficiency and leading innovation products. By doing so we are able to support our clients in realizing ambitious investment and production. ”

According to Du, he will focus on developing local talents in chemical and industrial areas while reinforcing centripetal force of our team. Thus providing them with wider space of development.

In the future, Solvay Specialty Polymers will continue to invest in recruiting and cultivating local talents professional capacities. By strengthening internal communication and utilizing source and R&D experience, the company will be able to provide better assistance to local clients from various business sectors and areas to form a better communication cycle, while tracking market developments. Doing so will truly provide innovative high- tech material to clients, while realizing its indispensable innovating role and market leading position.

(Translator: Emma Chang, Editor, LEDinside)

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