ASEH understands that a talent pool is the foundation of technology and industrial development. For a long time, we have engaged in industry–academia collaborations with reputable universities and offered various industry-specific classes and internship programs to facilitate the integration of learning and practice, enabling students to prepare for their transition from student life to a working life and to cultivate employability. In addition, we launched industry–academia collaboration projects to promote deeper industry–academia exchange, improve R&D capacity, and develop advanced technologies, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of the semiconductor industry.
ASEH has created key programs like "academia cooperation and corporate internship", "academic research collaboration", and "scholarships" to leverage on the expertise from these academic resources. In 2021, ASEH continued its collaborations with local schools, contributing over US$2.5 million, including US$1.8 million towards 66 technology research collaborations and US$0.3 million for scholarships. We also recruited 224 interns and enrolled 862 students in the semiconductor master's degree program. Nearly 80 schools and research institutions in Taiwan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, etc. were involved in these collaborations.
2021 Accomplishments of Industry-Academia Collaboration Programs
Industry–Academia Research in Automation Technologies for Smart Manufacturing and Digital Transformation
ASEH is committed to building a smart semiconductor assembly and testing factory. Since 2015, our Kaohsiung facility has collaborated with the National Taiwan University, National Cheng Kung University, National Sun Yat-sen University, and National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology on 41 projects in order to cultivate the technical and practical skills of students and conduct research on automation technologies. In 2021, we launched six industry–academia research projects that focused on three aspects: smart manufacturing, behavior prediction, and information security, thus using cross-regional academic research to deeper exchange and harness the power of technology to promote digital transformation.
In smart manufacturing, we adopted strip map analysis of the substrate in the chip bond process of the semiconductor equipment to accurately identify process anomalies and improve problem-solving skills. We employed Scanning Acoustic Tomography (SAT) or X-ray machines and automatic defect detection technology, which enable factory production machines to monitor and intercept defective items. We effectively improved the security and efficiency of information control by identifying abnormal behaviors and monitoring digital fences. We introduced a TRF robot dialogue technology to solve problems with artificial intelligence and improve job efficiency. We constructed an employee turnover prediction model by using big data analytic; the results generated enable us to take immediate actions, such as employee care, to retain talents and minimize production losses. Because digital response is key to building digital resilience, in response to the increasing information security requirements of the international market and customers, we installed optical character recognition on our computer systems to safeguard our trade secrets and prevent information security crises.
ASEH ushered in the era of AI in 2018 when it established its first smart factory. In 2020, ASEH built the world’s first private corporate network smart factory—5G mmWave, successfully initiating a digital transformation. In 2021, we continued to invest in an industrial artificial intelligence (IAI) platform, integrating the results of AI research into industrial applications to accelerate toward digital transformation and indirectly promote industry upgrade and innovation in Taiwan.
Semiconductor Packaging Technology Research
ASEH, National Cheng Kung University, and National Sun Yat-sen University jointly organized the 9th ASE Semiconductor Packaging Technology Industry–Academia Conference. At the conference, nine projects were presented and industry practices were shared to promote the commercialization of research results and showcase impressive research achievements.
We continued to invest in the research and development of key technologies. Because the selection of packaging structure and materials may influence the reliability of results, we resolved the issues that we encountered through technological cooperation. For example, we used nanoimprint lithography to improve the incident angle of optical grade coatings; employed stress analysis to solve the non-wire bonding problem of quad-flat no-leads (QFN); identified optimal process parameters for buttress dam and glass materials to mitigate the issue of product defects caused by molding; and removed mold residuals in packaging process applications. Thus during the process of identifying problems, the research and development capabilities of the academic community were leveraged to improve efficiency and enhance the overall process capacity.
To strengthen the composition and resilience of ASEH’s turnkey solutions, ASEH has focused on the following: developing a high-density fine-line shell warpage module to perform predictive maintenance on packaging products; testing high-temperature solder paste used in optical sensor modules by using the tin/antimony system and ensuring that the resulting intermetallic compound meets the product’s high-temperature requirement; and solving the stress problems in fan-out chip on substrate packaging. The integration of the results of industry–academia collaboration research into chip packaging, testing, and system assembly highlights the technological capacity of the academic community and effectively addresses key mechanical problems in hardware devices, thereby making new operation models a possibility.
SPIL, an ASEH subsidiary has been working with top universities on talent development. Currently in its seventh year, the corporate mentoring program is collaboration between SPIL and the National Chung Hsing University. The program includes a diverse range of activities - Cutting-edge Assembly & Testing Technologies and Human Resource Seminars, Production Line Visits, Mentor-Mentee Lunch Gatherings, Alumni Symposium and Project Competitions. The program enables the company to attract outstanding talent and helps students learn about industry dynamics, explore career options, bridge skills gap and prepare them well to meet workplace challenges. SPIL’s corporate mentoring program has introduced a new model for career guidance that serves as a vigorous and flexible learning platform. SPIL expanded the scope of collaboration to include the College of Engineering and Science of Feng Chia University. For the first time in 2021, two corporate mentorship activities were organized, which were participated by 62 students for a total of 954 hours. Monetary rewards were also included to encourage students to participate in activities and establish a tacit understanding of teamwork throughout the project. Students were also given information on opportunities within the assembly and test industry, which together could help the company strengthen its competitive advantage.
Employee education, training and transfer of skills rank highly at USI. To that end, the USI University was established in 2006 to provide free courses covering corporate experiences, management knowledge and the latest technology and industry trends. The USI University actively collaborates with industry and public associations, and universities and provides internally trained instructors to design the courses. Through courses, we shared our knowledge on the management and training of skilled talents, CIP, and smart manufacturing applications, and engaged with industry peers. Through university newsletters and forums, we shared relevant knowledge and research results (e.g., 5G mobile communication physical layer and radio frequency designs, user scenarios, and data, etc.) with university students to show them how to apply theory to produce results. A total of 19 classes attended by 1,350 participants were offered in 2021, recording a total participation 2,343 hours. Moving forward, USI University will continue to invest in education and contribute actively to enhancing youth employability.