Why is There a Global Semiconductor Chip Shortage? Can AOI Help?

Almost two years after the outbreak of the Covid-19, the world is still suffering the impact of the pandemic. Supply chains in various sectors around the world have been affected greatly.

In the tech industry, chips are in short supply throughout the world. Millions of products including smartphones, laptops, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, automobiles, etc. rely on chips for their functionality.

Though tiny, computer chips power so much of our lives. Unfortunately, global semiconductor chips are now in critically short supply.

Why is there a global semiconductor chip shortage? Read on to find out why and how AOI can help.

What Are Semiconductor Chips?

For the benefit of those wondering what computer chips are all about, here’s a brief summary of chips and why it is important in technology.

The chips, also known as semiconductors, sometimes called integrated circuits (ICs), function as the brain of every electronic.

They are tiny technological assets that allow electrons to pass through them. Whether it’s a computer or a simple remote control unit, configuration comprises billions of transistors within them.

The Impacts of Global Chip Shortage

Temporarily closing of factories and temporarily stop of import and export activities in the country due to the pandemic affect the chips demand to drop tremendously, but when the pandemic force millions of people indoors, demand for laptops and other computer accessories skyrocketed, it causes a sudden increase demand of chips.

This big fluctuation causes the huge chips shortage in the world and left many tech industries at a crunch point.

Vehicles are often packed with thousands of individual chips. Giant automobile companies like Ford, Volvo, and Toyota have had to either slow or temporarily halt production at their factories due to the shortage. Nissan announced it will be making 500,000 fewer vehicles. In fact, in factories, there are thousands of completed vehicles without chips waiting for the supply.

You probably are aware that buying a PlayStation 5 game console seems almost impossible or over expensive due to chip shortage. Smartphone and software manufacturers are feeling the heat too, with Tim Cook, Apple CEO, warning that the shortage of chips could affect iPhone and iPad sales.

It has gone serious that even companies that wouldn’t necessarily be associated with computer chips are feeling the adverse effects.

For instance, CSSI international, a dog-grooming machine manufacturer based in the United States complains that there just aren’t enough of them to meet industry demand.

What Are Semiconductor Chip Suppliers Doing to Alleviate This Shortage?

Some chip makers believe production expansion will increase volume production while others are planning on collaborating with car companies to directly understand future demand situations.

This will not only take multiple years to achieve, but it will also cost billions of dollars to build or expand semiconductor factories.

AOI Machines – a Practical Solution

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated an already alarming situation for chipmakers. We are in the middle of a global tech explosion, something that won’t end in a year’s time. But can AOI solution help overcome the global semiconductor chip shortage?

The answer is a resounding yes. Due to the shortage of global semiconductor chips, Automated Optical Inspection (AOI machine) growth has increased in recent years.

By producing a large volume of chips in a short time period to fulfil the market demand is not easy for the manufacturers. With sensitive components in the chips going through many processes to have zero defects is nearly impossible.

Using manual inspection to inspect the small die or complex packaging might take too long or might not be detailed and accurate enough. A defect’s chips might cause danger to the user if it is overlooked.

Therefore AOI solutions come to advantages in this. High-performance AOI solutions can help to detect minor or major defects automatically before or after certain processes to separate out the defected products before going to the next processes and providing more reliable, precise inspection results at high speed. Data can be collected too for defects analysis to improve the production line.

There are many AOI solutions available supporting the whole Semiconductor Manufacturing process. Take the Semiconductor Backend manufacturing processes for example. Automated Inspection (AOI) can be fitted in at the beginning, or mid, or end of the processes for more layer defects filtering.

aoi process for semiconductor products

All In All

While companies are looking for various solutions to end chip shortage such as optimizing VMI thresholds, collaborating with suppliers, increasing transparency, among others, the use of AOI machines should not be neglected.

Certainly, it is a highly potential long-term solution to the recent semiconductor chip shortage and for many years to come.

If you are looking for AOI solutions to improve the quality of your products, Cortex Robotics has the AOI solutions and expertise to help you. By serving many of the industries players in the markets, we totally understand your needs.

Contact us for more information.