The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Smart hubs; LED package; battle at Ultratech; power transistors.

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Manufacturing
United States President Barack Obama has announced the winner of the New Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute and manufacturing hub competition. The winner is the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC). This coalition, headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., brings together a consortium of nearly 200 partners from across academia, industry and non-profits. The idea is to improve the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing.

As part of the consortium, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) will lead the Northeast center. RPI will be responsible for administering the center for the DOE Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) programs. GlobalFoundries and others are part of that group.

Chipmakers
Intel and Samsung announced the formation of the National IoT Strategy Dialogue, an initiative to co-develop strategic recommendations for U.S. policy makers on the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon unveiled Samsung’s vision for “Human-Centered IoT.” This includes a strategy to spend $1.2 billion over 4 years for U.S.-based IoT R&D and investments. This will be led by the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center, Global Innovation Center and Samsung Research America.

Samsung has introduced Fx-CSP, a line-up of LED packages which features chip-scale packaging and flexible circuit board technology, for use in automotive lighting applications.

Fab tools
Neuberger Berman and certain of its affiliates own approximately 7.6% of the outstanding stock of Ultratech. The firm has issued an investor presentation outlining the need for change at Ultratech. Then, Ultratech attempted to set the record straight regarding several alleged accusations made by Neuberger Berman. It’s a heated discussion.

Market research
After dropping 7% in 2015 to $12.3 billion, power transistor sales are expected to stabilize and begin a modest recovery in 2016, growing by a little over 1% to $12.4 billion, according to IC Insights.

Worldwide shipments of wearable devices are expected to reach 101.9 million units by the end of 2016, representing 29.0% growth over 2015, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). The market for wearable devices will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3%, culminating in 213.6 million units shipped in 2020.

A flurry of mergers and acquisitions last year caused the competitive landscape to shift in the automotive chip sector. This included the merger of NXP and Freescale, which created the largest automotive semiconductor supplier in 2015 with a market share of 14.3%, IHS said. The acquisition of International Rectifier (IR) helped Infineon overtake Renesas to secure the second-ranked position, with a market share of 9.8%. Renesas slipped to third-ranked position in 2015, with a market share of 9.1%, followed by STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.