WNIE TV Interview with Carla Furanna at APEX 2020

Kim Sauer, WNIE TV Moderator/miXim, from WNIE TV discusses with Carla Furanna, Head of Global Marketing, CyberOptics, about challenging applications in SMT and new technology developments in the converging SMT and semiconductor markets.

KS: Hello, I’m Kim Sauer at IPC APEX 2020. I’m joined by Carla Furanna, from CyberOptics. Carla, it’s great to see you.

CF: Great to see you, thank you.

KS: Now, very exciting developments here on the show floor, you’ve won some awards, congratulations.

CF: Yes, thank you. We won two awards for our SQ3000™ platform. It is a multi-functional system for AOI, SPI and Coordinate Measurements (CMM). We also won another award for the CyberCMM™ software, that is a full coordinate measurement software suite. We’re really excited and happy to have won those two awards, and now that brings us up to 18 total awards for MRS™ (Multi-Reflection Suppression™) enabled systems and technology. We’re very happy about that. 

KS: Congratulations, and that really is the basis of all of it. It sort of proves the point you’ve got solutions for markets that are really valuable and have the benefits that the market wants. Talk us through what sort of solutions are new, what you’re focusing on at the moment.

CF: Just to back up for a moment, what we’re finding with our customers is they are highly valuing the ability to not only identify critical defects, but to also measure critical parameters. So they’re looking at our systems as more of a process control system, and that enables them to improve yields, improve quality, improve operational efficiencies.

We’re also extending beyond traditional SMT applications into some exciting and different ones. Like for example, socket metrology. Take one key customer, who was previously using a traditional coordinate measurement system, or CMM machine. It was taking them 8 hours to complete what they needed to complete, to gather the full coordinate measurements. When they adopted our technology, it brought it down to less than 13 seconds. So a huge step in terms of time savings for them, and they’re getting the full coordinate measurements at the high accuracy that’s required. So that one’s exciting.

Also, micro LED is another exciting application. We are partnering with Rohinni™, we have a terrific relationship there. They’re definitely on the forefront of this micro LED technology that they have developed. It’s brighter, lower power consumption, more dynamic. They came to us and they were looking for an inspection and measurement machine that could handle these very small micro LED’s. They came back and said we’ve deemed your technology is the best for this application, and now they use it for six different process application steps. We’re really excited about micro LED and the potential in that market. We feel that we have a very strong position. They are integrating the technology into consumer electronics devices and big screen displays, into automotive parts / lighting and such, so we see great opportunities there.

And we continue to play in the high-end segment, so we’re not a low price leader by any means. We find our technology excels in really challenging applications and we’re finding that the customers who have these challenging applications are adopting our technology because they recognize it has a great combination of high accuracy, high resolution and high speed. And the MRS really sets us apart.

KS: Absolutely. So the developments in the market are sort of continuing at a speed, and I guess with that, your solutions need to keep up. So when we look at the type of markets you’re in, the type of demands from the customers that are coming, how do you see that developing?

CF: Great question. I mentioned that we’ve moved from just standard SMT into some other challenging applications. We’ve also advanced our technology into the semiconductor space. A few years back we entered into an agreement with KLA®, so they integrate our sensors into their systems for back-end semi inspection. Our R&D and scientists pushed the MRS technology further, and we just recently launched a 3 micron NanoResolution MRS Sensor. That is particularly positioned for advanced packaging and wafer level inspection and metrology – for copper pillars, wafer bumps and other advanced packaging applications.

In that market, there’s a lot of complexity, a lot of variation and there’s a growing need for high precision inspection and metrology. We think we’re well positioned in this marketplace. We believe it’s about a 400 million dollar market, growing at around 20% + compounding of growth in the coming years, so it’s a large and growing market. And our technology, again, our smart R&D team back in Minneapolis, they keep pushing this technology forward. The NanoResolution MRS sensor is 2-3 times faster than alternate technologies in the market. We do 100% 2D and 3D inspection in one pass, versus the alternate that does one pass for 2D and one pass for 3D. So we’re saving a lot of time and we can do it at the high accuracy, high resolution and with much faster throughput, which is critically important – that speed improvement. It’s really an exciting technology, and we believe we are well poised to enter and penetrate that market. So from typical SMT, to challenging applications and to semiconductor wafer-level and advanced packaging inspection and metrology.

We also have a portfolio that’s in place in the front-end of the semiconductor fab now. It’s a portfolio of wireless measurement devices (WaferSense®) so we’re very familiar with the semiconductor market overall. We’re just increasing our presence in that market.

KS: Excellent, well there’s a lot of development, a lot of investment, a lot of hard work in really being close to your customers there. So more awards to come for next year then as well.

CF: Yes. Well, we are happy to have won the award (Best of West 2019) for the NanoResolution MRS Sensor, the only one given at the (Semicon West)  show out of 500 submissions, and we anticipate hopefully garnering more awards. But most importantly to us, is really developing those customer relationships and addressing the needs they have. We are very excited about this coming year.

I’m also excited that our CEO is very behind the innovation of this company, and has been since he came on board around 6 years ago. He’s investing about 18% in R&D, and he is always challenging the team to keep advancing/developing technology, so you can expect more to come from us.

KS: Absolutely. Well thank you very much for the overview. Great talking with you.

CF: Thank you very much for having me, great talking with you as well.