The Week In Review: Manufacturing

UMC’s finFETs; GF’s finFETs; mask survey; iPhone 7 teardown.


The finFET market is heating up. GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC are ramping 16nm/14nm finFETs. And 10nm and 7nm finFETs are in the works.

The market will shortly have a new competitor—Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC). Some years ago, UMC licensed finFET technology from IBM.

UMC has been a bit quiet about the 14nm finFET technology, but it has made significant progress. “UMC’s 14nm development is progressing as planned, with a technical boost from the licensing of IBM’s technology,” according to officials from UMC. “14nm finFET is under qualification and will be ready in 2017. 14nm is now ready for lead customer design-in.”

Today, many chipmakers are ramping up finFETs, but not everyone is at the leading edge. In logic, for example, the sweet spot is still at the 40nm and 28nm planar nodes. UMC, for one, is also focusing on 40nm and 28nm.


GlobalFoundries has announced plans to enter the 7nm finFET market. This technology provides processing power for datacenters, networking, premium mobile processors, and deep learning applications.

Separately, GlobalFoundries has also rolled out an embedded MRAM technology for its 22FDX platform. This platform is based on a 22nm fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) technology.

Samsung Electronics has approved the sale of its printer business to HP. The business, with 6,000 employees, a production base in China as well as more than 50 sales offices globally, posted 2 trillion Korean won in revenue in 2015.

Renesas has signed a definitive agreement to acquire analog chipmaker Intersil for $22.50 per share in cash, representing an aggregate equity value of approximately $3.2 billion.

Manufacturing and test
D2S has rolled out its fourth-generation computational design platform (CDP). Geared for mask data prep and other applications, the CDP is a specialized, GPU-based acceleration hardware platform that enables 400 teraflops of performance. A teraflop is a trillion floating point operations per second.

The eBeam Initiative announced the completion of its fifth annual eBeam Initiative members’ perceptions survey. In addition, the eBeam Initiative also completed its second annual mask makers’ survey. Among the results of the members’ perception survey, respondents remained optimistic in the implementation of EUV lithography. In addition, expectations on the use of multi-beam technology continue to remain strong.

National Instruments and Astronics have introduced a new set of PXI-based instruments for the aerospace and defense industries. In addition, NI also rolled out TestStand 2016. This latest version of the test management software focuses on helping the more than 10,000 current users to further increase their productivity while also helping to ensure the initial success of new developers.

Qualcomm has announced the opening of Qualcomm Communication Technologies (Shanghai), a semiconductor test facility in Shanghai. Working with Amkor Technology, the new company will combine Amkor’s test experience with Qualcomm Technologies’ expertise in product engineering and development.

SEMI has announced that MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG) will become a SEMI Strategic Association Partner effective Jan. 1, 2017. Through this strategic partnership, SEMI and MSIG members will benefit from stronger consolidated representation in the MEMS and sensors segments.

Lam Research announced that Rick Tsai will join the company’s board. Tsai is currently chairman and chief executive of Chunghwa Telecom, as well as a director of NXP Semiconductors.

Market research
TechInsights’ iPhone 7 teardown blog is now live. What’s inside the new iPhone 7 from Apple? “… seeing is believing and we have indeed found an entire Intel mobile cellular platform inside the iPhone 7. Intel supplied not just one, but two RF transceivers, the baseband modem, and the (RF) power management IC,” according to the blog.

SEMI reported that worldwide semiconductor manufacturing equipment billings reached $10.5 billion in the second quarter of 2016. The billings figure is 26% higher than the first quarter of 2016 and 11% higher 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.

Asia-Pacific’s grip as the dominant market for IC sales is forecast to strengthen in 2016 with the region expected to account for 61.0% of the $282.0 billion IC market this year, according to IC Insights.

In the second quarter of 2016, worldwide server revenue declined 0.8 percent year over year, while shipments grew 2 percent from the second quarter of 2015, according to Gartner.