The Week In Review: Manufacturing

More EUV; Lam-KLA deal; finFETs; Intel fab guru retires.


What was the mood at this week’s SPIE Litho? “EUV sentiment is improving among chipmakers as ASML makes progress toward HVM metrics; however, there is still much hedging around timing and readiness. We view EUV adoption as likely to be slow and gradual through 2020,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, in a report. “In order for ASML to hit the higher levels of EUV adoption outlined in its target model (50-60 units per year), we believe that meaningful adoption at TSMC and DRAM producers will be required, with modest adoption by Intel. In our view, DRAM adoption likely is higher risk, as EUV development among DRAM producers appears substantially behind logic/foundry.”

Is there another setback for China? First, Micron Technology rejected a takeover bid by China. Now, China’s Unisplendour/Unis Union has terminated its share purchase agreement for a 15% stake in Western Digital. As a result, Western Digital’s proposed move to acquire SanDisk has been reduced to $78.50 per share from $86.50 per share. “The termination was a direct result of the decision by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to conduct an investigation into the proposed investment by Unisplendour/Unis Union,” according to Mark Bachman, an analyst at ITG Investment Research.

Lam Research’s stockholders have approved the proposed deal to acquire KLA-Tencor. Now, the deal must get regulatory approval.

Rick Gottscho, executive vice president of Global Products at Lam, is among the 102 new members honored with election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Applied Materials announced that Robert Visser has received a 2016 Special Recognition Award from the Society of Information Display. The award is for his pioneering research and commercialization of new display technologies related to OLEDs, LCD materials and barrier films, including encapsulation technologies for OLED and flexible displays.

Canon has joined the eBeam Initiative. In addition, the eBeam Initiative, a forum dedicated to the education and promotion of new semiconductor manufacturing approaches based on electron beam (eBeam) technologies, will expand its education efforts to support extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, nanoimprint lithography (NIL) and multi-beam mask writing.

NuFlare Technology this week peeled back the covers on its upcoming multi-beam mask writer, which currently is in alpha testing in Japan. The MBM-1000, scheduled for release next year, will be used for 5nm chips, while a follow-on product, the MBM-2000 is slated for 3nm and is scheduled for introduction in 2019.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted a book-to-bill ratio of 1.08 in January, up from 1.00 in the previous month, according to SEMI.

Samsung Electronics said that the Exynos 8 Octa, its second-generation mobile processor based on 14nm finFET technology, will power the latest Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge line of mobile products. In addition, Samsung is producing the industry’s first 256-gigabyte (GB) embedded memory based on the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 standard, for next-generation high-end mobile devices.

Intel’s top manufacturing executive is retiring. William Holt, executive vice president and general manager of the Technology and Manufacturing Group (TMG) of Intel, plans to retire, effective June 2016. Holt is a 42-year veteran of Intel. Holt will transition his responsibilities to Sohail Ahmed, senior vice president and general manager of TMG, and Ann Kelleher, corporate vice president and general manager of TMG.

Worldwide semiconductor industry capital spending is forecast to show low single-digit growth in 2016 after registering a 1% decline in 2015, according to IC Insights. Last year’s drop in semiconductor industry capital spending was a significant departure from historical patterns that go back more than 30 years.