The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Intel’s 10nm and 7nm plans; ASML-HMI deal; book-to-bill; AI in cars.

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Chipmakers
It’s been a difficult time for Intel. The chip giant recently announced a major layoff. It also ceased development on several cell-phone chip products.

Intel hasn’t given up on Moore’s Law, but the nodes appear to be extending from 18 to 24 months or perhaps longer, at least at Intel. Here’s the latest: For 10nm production, Intel received the production fab tools in April, according to equipment sources. From there, Intel is expected to move into 10nm production in the second half of 2017, according to sources.

Initially, Intel will ramp up its 10nm production in Fab 28, located in Kiryat Gat, Israel, sources said. Then, six months later, the company will ramp up its 10nm process in Fab 32, based in Chandler, Ariz., sources said.

As stated by Intel, the company is no longer following the “tick-tock” product/process cadence. It’s moving towards a “tick-tock-tick” strategy. With the new cadence, Intel’s 7nm process is expected to appear in 2019, according to equipment sources.

A spokeswoman for Intel declined to comment.

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Samsung Electronics has agreed to acquire Joyent, a public and private cloud provider. With Joyent’s cloud technology, Samsung will now have access to its own cloud platform capable of supporting its growing lineup of mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based software and services.

Deals
Looking to expand into new markets, ASML Holding has entered into an agreement to acquire e-beam wafer inspection specialist Hermes Microvision (HMI) in a cash transaction valued at 2.75 billion euros (US$3.08 billion).

NXP Semiconductors announced an agreement to divest its Standard Products business to a consortium of financial investors consisting of Beijing Jianguang Asset Management and Wise Road Capital. Under the terms, the consortium will pay approximately $2.75 billion for the business. In addition, Cavium has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire QLogic. The transaction values QLogic at approximately $1.36 billion in equity value.

Market Research
North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted a book-to-bill ratio of 1.09 in May, according to SEMI. In April, the book-to-bill was also 1.09.

Gartner said global smartphone sales will continue to slow and will no longer grow in double digits. Worldwide smartphone sales are expected to grow 7% in 2016 to reach 1.5 billion units. This is down from 14.4% growth in 2015. In 2020, smartphone sales are on pace to total 1.9 billion units. “The smartphone market will no longer grow at the levels it has reached over the last seven years,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner. “Smartphone sales recorded their highest growth in 2010, reaching 73%.”

As the complexity and penetration of in-vehicle infotainment systems and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) increases, there is a growing need for hardware and software solutions that support artificial intelligence (AI). This uses electronics and software to emulate the functions of the human brain. In fact, unit shipments of AI-based systems used in infotainment and ADAS systems are expected to rise from just 7 million in 2015 to 122 million by 2025, according to IHS Inc.