The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Making flexible displays; breaking down BACUS; more EUV delays?; Intel and TSMC cut CapEx.


Looking to propel the next wave of OLED displays, Applied Materials has rolled out two new systems. The tools enable the volume production of OLED displays for both mobile products and TVs. In addition, Applied Materials has shipped an Applied TopMet roll-to-roll metal deposition system to Jindal Poly Films, a leader in PET and BOPP films for flexible packaging and labeling applications.

In a video, Aki Fujimura, chief executive of D2S, recaps the breaking news and emerging trends that came out of the recently concluded SPIE Photomask BACUS conference.

Also in a video, Brian Grenon of Rave, Klaus Edinger of Zeiss, and Fujimura also discussed issues during a panel discussion at BACUS.

ASML posted its results. Is the shipment schedule for ASML’s EUV tool slipping again? Here’s the evidence: ”We visited ASML last month, and at the time we suspected that two of the seven EUV tools scheduled to ship this year might slip into 2016. On the call, ASML noted that, in fact, three tools are slipping,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. “We believe foundry customers are in no rush to buy €100 million tools before they are needed and are dragging their feet to ensure new tools come with the latest upgrades.”

Intel reported its results and lowered its 2015 CapEx guidance to $7.3 billion, plus or minus $500 million. This is down from its previous guidance of $7.7 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

TSMC reported its results and cut its CapEx by $3 billion for 2015. TSMC’s CapEx is now set at $8 billion. “TSMC also reported its first profit decline in three years. Though it managed to wriggle its way into manufacturing of A9 and A9X chips for Apple, it is clear that Samsung System LSI got the major part of the business. In addition, Qualcomm in order to secure its slot in the Samsung Galaxy series, decides to fabricate its Snapdragon 820 at Samsung System LSI despite having to pay higher prices compared to TSMC,” said Srini Sundararajan, an analyst at W.R. Hambrecht + Co./Summit Research, in a research note.

In a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling, Samsung has been cleared on its use of graphics chip technology owned by Nvidia.

It’s merger mania week again for ICs. This week, three companies–Fairchild, Maxim and SanDisk–are separately in play, according to numerous reports. The potential suitors for SanDisk include Micron and Western Digital, according to reports. Meanwhile, ADI and Maxim are in talks, according to reports. And finally, Fairchild could get snapped up by Infineon or On Semi, according to other reports.

VeriSilicon Holdings and Vivante announced a definitive merger agreement. The combined company will be called VeriSilicon.

Siliconware Precision Industries Co. Ltd. (SPIL) filed a suit against Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE). The suit, filed in Taiwan, claims that ASE does not have the right to request registration as a shareholder in the company’s shareholder register. As reported, ASE conducted a tender offer of SPIL’s shares. “However, ASE, both during the tender offer period and after its completion, has acted with a competitor’s mindset, repeatedly criticizing (SPIL’s) proposed strategic alliance with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. and aggressively intervening in the company’s business operations, even clearly stating in its lawsuit that the proposed strategic alliance will affect the number of the company’s board of director seats it can obtain,” according to SPIL.

AMD and Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics announced the signing of a definitive agreement to create a joint venture combining AMD’s high-volume assembly, test, mark, and packaging facilities and workforce in Penang, Malaysia and Suzhou, China with NFME’s outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) expertise.

Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is projected to decline 1% in 2015, to $63.9 billion, according to Gartner. This is down from the 2.5% growth predicted in Gartner’s previous quarter’s forecast. The forecast for 2016 is unchanged at a 3.3% decline over 2015.