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Flying Jellyfish, Smart Tech, Regional Growth Highlight SEMICON Southeast Asia 2018

By Ng Kai Fai

With Southeast Asia’s semiconductor industry expected to grow up to 12 percent this year, the stakes at SEMICON Southeast Asia were high. The challenge: to drive industry connection, collaboration and innovation across a broad range of technologies to accelerate growth in the electronics manufacturing supply chain.

SEMICON Southeast Asia 2018 delivered.

The region’s premier gathering of the global electronics manufacturing supply chain, SEMICON Southeast Asia drew an event record of more than 7,500 visitors and over 300 exhibitors to its debut at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur. The Market Trends Briefing, an event favourite, offered insights into the latest trends and developments on forward-thinking topics as diverse as the machine as an integral part of human society (NXP Semiconductors Singapore) and intelligent robots (Festo Robotics). Key industry topics including semiconductor fab investments (SEMI) and drivers and applications for Fan-Out Wafer-Level Packaging (TechSearch International) also highlighted the briefing.


2018 Year to Date Statistics from the Market Trends Briefing


For the first time, SEMICON Southeast Asia convened policy makers and industry leaders in a panel – the CXO Speaks session – that provided insights into how the region can strengthen its manufacturing ecosystem, capture new opportunities in IoT, and build a resilient and growing electronics industry. The panelists agreed that the Southeast Asia semiconductor market will continue to grow exponentially in the digital era, and that regional players must not only collaborate to sustain this growth momentum but build a strong talent pipeline to continue to drive IoT innovation.

With connection clearly critical to the industry’s growth, the event’s Business-Matching sessions and industry VIP networking brought business leaders together to find new partners and opportunities.

Themed ‘Think Smart, Make Smart,’ SEMICON Southeast Asia featured few devices smarter and more innovative than Festo’s AirJelly, a radio-controlled airborne jellyfish. The first indoor flying object with peristaltic drive mimics the movement of a real jellyfish – except in the air. The device’s eight tentacles adapt to its environment, just like its 500-million-year-old sea-roaming cousin. A lithium-ion battery, an electric motor and a bit of helium are its wings, allowing it to take flight.

The ‘World of IoT,’ a show-within-a-show, highlighted enabling applications and technologies for the IoT revolution. This interactive experience was helmed by seven Malaysian technology start-ups that showcased present and near-future consumer technologies such as autonomous vehicles, smart AI devices and virtual reality applications enabled by semiconductor innovations.

In an effort to attract STEM talent to the industry, SEMICON Southeast Asia for the first time staged a panel with 11 experts from the public sector and seven from the private sector to discuss strategies for encouraging young graduates to pursue engineering careers and building a talent pipeline. For their part, the SEMICON Southeast Asia university programme and the Electronics Talent Career Fair focused on helping to build the global semiconductor industry as it faces a worker shortage.

At SEMICON Southeast Asia’s Technology Innovation Forum, thought leaders from across the industry answered the question: What does Smart Manufacturing mean to the electronics manufacturing supply chain?

While presenters from GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Amkor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Infineon, Lam, IBM, Omron, and OSRAM looked at Smart Manufacturing from very different positions in the supply chain, they shared common issues with data sharing and data protection, and decision-making methodologies when monitoring a huge influx of sensor data.



Samivel Krishnamoorthy, Director of Digital Manufacturing & Industrialization at OSRAM, closed the session with a real-world look at the work necessary to transition a cluster of production lines with different systems to Smart Manufacturing capable lines following common systems and data handling techniques. OSRAM embraces SEMI Standards for use in conventional silicon front-end manufacturing in for Osram’s LED production. Krishnamoorthy detailed an exceptional analysis process to benchmark and adapt best practices to complex, multi-stakeholder technology production environments.

Those looking for a highly influential audience from every segment of the global microelectronics manufacturing supply chain found it as SEMICON Southeast Asia. Technology and business leaders from segments including semiconductors, LEDs, MEMS, printed/flexible electronics, and other adjacent industries were a powerful presence at the event.

Held for the first time in Kuala Lumpur, the event remained true to its mission to connect electronics industry innovators and thought leaders from business, academia and research from both region and all over the world. SEMICON Southeast Asia 2019 will once again be held at MITEC.

Kai Fai Ng is President, SEMI Southeast Asia.