The Week In Review: Manufacturing

MEMS consortium; Coventor’s simulation tool; new fab forecast; IC outlook.

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MEMS manufacturing
A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) in Singapore has launched its third consortium to develop MEMS technologies. This would allow MEMS sensor devices to achieve better performance, higher power efficiency and a smaller form factor. The MEMS Consortium III consists of the following companies: Applied Materials, Coventor, Delta Electronics, GlobalFoundries, InvenSense, SPTS Technologies, Standing Egg, Ulvac and Veeco.

Fab tools
Coventor has announced the availability of SEMulator3D 6.0–the latest version of its semiconductor virtual fabrication platform. This new version further increases the accuracy of the process simulation, geometry and modeling of advanced semiconductor processes with new features, usability enhancements and a new add-on capability for electrical analysis. Along with SEMulator3D 6.0, Coventor is releasing a new SEMulator3D Electrical Analysis add-on component that allows seamless resistance and capacitance extraction directly from SEMulator3D process-predictive 3D models.

Applied Materials announced that its board has approved a new $2 billion share repurchase program. This follows the completion of the $3 billion share repurchase program originally approved by the Board on April 26, 2015.

In a video, Naoya Hayashi of DNP examines both the challenges and progress with nanoimprint lithography (NIL) master templates.

Ultratech has announced that its Cambridge Nanotech business unit, Ultratech-CNT, has entered into a joint development program with Imec in the field of area-selective deposition technology. The project will concentrate on the study and use of self-assembled monolayers as a means of functionalizing surfaces to selectively inhibit ALD-grown films.

Chipmakers
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has announced a seven-year contract with GlobalFoundries. GlobalFoundries will make chips for various defense systems, according to The Wall Street Journal and other reports.

Micron Technology has announced an update regarding its effort to acquire the remaining interest in Taiwan DRAM maker Inotera. While the acquisition was initially expected to close in mid-July 2016, the parties have concluded that closing the transaction on this timeframe is not possible. Micron expects to provide an update toward the latter part of calendar 2016.

Market Research
The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) group has released its new semiconductor market forecast. WSTS expects the world semiconductor market to be down 2.4% in 2016 at $327 billion with growth returning in 2017 and 2018. For 2017 and 2018, all major product categories and all regions are forecasted to grow reaching $341 billion in 2018. As a result, the worldwide semiconductor market is forecasted to be up about 2% year-on-year in both 2017 and 2018.

SEMI reported that worldwide semiconductor manufacturing equipment billings reached $8.3 billion in the first quarter of 2016. The billings figure is 3% higher than the fourth quarter of 2015 and 13% lower than the same quarter a year ago. The data is gathered jointly with the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ) from over 95 global equipment companies that provide data on a monthly basis.

SEMI announced that 19 new fabs and lines are forecasted to begin construction in 2016 and 2017, according to the latest update of the SEMI World Fab Forecast report. While semiconductor fab equipment spending is off to a slow start in 2016, it is expected to gain momentum through the end of the year. Activity in the 3D NAND, 10nm logic, and foundry segments is expected to push equipment spending up to $36 billion in 2016, 1.5% over 2015, and to $40.7 billion in 2017, up 13%.

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