Sanyo slims down circuits

Sanyo has announced it is planning to produce super-thin system-in-package (SiP) electronic circuits at the rate of one million a...

Sanyo has announced it is planning to produce super-thin system-in-package (SiP) electronic circuits at the rate of one million a month using a process it calls "integrated system on board" (ISB).

The process will enable the production of smaller, lighter mobile phones and other end-user devices.

By combining one or more silicon chips with other devices, manufacturers can reduce assembly and component costs. SiP competes with system large scale integrated circuit (LSI) products built using the system-on-chip (SoC) method, in which many different circuits and components are built on a single silicon wafer.

The development of the LSI chip is costly and time-consuming to develop. It also generates considerable heat as the small chip is packed with so many functions.

SiP is seen as a breakthrough to solve these issues, said Yukio Okada, a general manager of Sanyo Electric's semiconductor development division.

Sanyo Electric's ISB process embeds and connects resistors and other chip-type devices along with multiple LSIs, with bare chips directly bonded to the copper wiring pattern and a copper substrate, without a core circuit board, Okada said. This core-less and copper-wired ISB structure costs less and discharges heat efficiently. It can also run at high frequency.

ISB circuits can be small - just 0.7mm thick - and the design is easily changeable, Okada said. As existing semiconductor chips can be combined, its system is easier to design.

"We have been developing ISB for the last two years," said Yukinori Kuwano, president of Sanyo Electric, at the company's new year conference in Tokyo. "Now we are ready to produce one million units per month and we have 130 patents pending for the technology," he said. Adding the company expects ISB to grow into a ¥50bn (£261m) business, and become one of the company's 10 key businesses for the next three to five years.

The company plans to manufacture the ISB products for mobile phones first, and then expand its use for other devices, Okada said.

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