Intel, Japan firms join hands to automate chip production processes

Major US chipmaker Intel has teamed up with 14 Japanese companies to develop new methods to automate and standardize semiconductor production.

The companies say they set up a Tokyo-based group in April to lead the initiative. It's called the Semiconductor Assembly Test Automation and Standardization Research Association, or SATAS for short.

The Japanese members include Omron, Resonac Holdings and Shin-Etsu Polymer.

The group aims to automate packaging, assembly and testing of chips, or procedures known as back-end processes. They aim to have the system up and running by 2028.

Many plants currently handling labor-intensive back-end processes are based in China and Southeast Asia. This leaves Japan at a disadvantage due to its higher labor costs, as well as a shortage of technicians in this field.

The SATAS group says its automation of back-end processes will improve production efficiency, set new standards, and boost the global competitiveness of its members.