The Week In Review: Manufacturing

5G; multi-beam; China to buy Mattson; OSAT drama.

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Chipmakers
In a blog, GlobalFoundries discussed the global push towards 5G or fifth-generation wireless networks.

Samsung Electronics Australia has announced the creation of brainBAND, a wearable technology designed to facilitate research into concussions in sports. In the prototype, a headband houses sensors at the back of the head that measure the force of an impact. This information would then be relayed via an app to medics, referees and coaches, all in real-time through the use of Samsung devices.

Fab tools
In a video, Hiroshi Matsumoto of NuFlare introduces his company’s new multi-beam mask writer, the MBM-1000. In another move, Intel is in the process of acquiring IMS Nanofabrication, a multi-beam e-beam equipment vendor.

Deals
Mattson’s stockholders have approved the previously-announced agreement to be acquired by China’s Beijing E-Town Dragon Semiconductor Industry Investment Center. Under the terms, E-Town Dragon will acquire U.S.-based fab tool vendor Mattson for $3.80 per share. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in several jurisdictions, including the U.S., China and Taiwan.

As reported, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering’s bid to acquire more shares in Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL) was recently unsuccessful. This was because the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) decided to suspend its review of the proposed combination between ASE and SPIL. “We deeply regret and are extremely baffled by the TFTC’s decision, which is completely without legal basis and violates the TFTC’s own administrative precedents,” according to ASE. “In order to respond to the intense and constant changes in the global semiconductor industry, as well as to ensure the sustained development of the Taiwanese semiconductor packaging and testing supply chain, we will continue with our plan to acquire 100% equity interest in SPIL through all legally permissible means and avenues.”

Microsemi has entered into a definitive agreement to divest a non-strategic component of a board level systems and packaging business to Mercury Systems for $300 million in cash.

Market Research
Unit demand for display glass used for liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs, desktop monitors, mobile PCs and other major large panel applications is forecast to fall in 2016. However average diagonal screen sizes for each application are expanding, which means display glass area demand will continue to increase, even as unit shipments decrease, according to IHS.

The ongoing trade dispute between China and the United States continues to affect the manufacture of polysilicon used for solar-photovoltaic (PV) modules in both countries, but not equally. A rush to install projects in China before the deadline for feed in tariff (FIT) levels of those projects on June 30, 2016, is the primary reason polysilicon prices are increasing, according to IHS. In fact, before the Chinese New Year in February 2016, polysilicon sold for just $12 per kilogram, on average; however, prices are now expected to rise to $19 per kilogram by April 2016.