The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Samsung’s 3D DRAM; GF’s MEMS deal; misuse of IT spending; CapEx forecast.

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Samsung Electronics announced that it has begun producing the industry’s first 4-gigabyte DRAM package based on the second-generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) interface. The 4GB HBM2 package is created by stacking a buffer die at the bottom and four 8-gigabit core dies on top. These are then vertically interconnected by TSV holes and microbumps. A single 8Gb HBM2 die contains over 5,000 TSV holes, which is more than 36 times that of a 8Gb TSV DDR4 die, offering an improvement in data transmission performance compared to typical wire-bonding based packages. The device is designed for use in high performance computing, advanced graphics and network systems, as well as enterprise servers.

Rambus announced the availability of a 28Gbps multi-modal serial link PHY on Samsung’s 14nm Low Power Plus (LPP) process based on finFET technology. The R+ 28G Serial Link PHY is a 100 Gigabit Ethernet solution that is optimized for power and area efficiency in long-reach channels.

Samsung announced that LM561B+, the company’s new mid-power LED package line-up with high-light efficacy, is now offered with 3-step MacAdam ellipse bins and quarter bins across the range of all CCTs (from 2700K to 6500K), for use in premium luminaires.

Vesper, a supplier of acoustic MEMS, is collaborating with GlobalFoundries to deliver the world’s first commercially available piezoelectric MEMS microphones for smartphones, wearables, automobiles, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other high-volume markets. Vesper’s piezoelectric MEMS microphones are waterproof, dustproof and particle-resistant, enabling outstanding acoustic performance in almost any environment.

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U.S. federal, state and local governments are expected to spend an estimated $55 billion into information and communication technologies (ICT). But better structuring of the funding plans is needed to create better outcomes, according to Lux Research.

Governments and IT developers should apply principles like modularity, scalability and interoperability to ICT funding itself. They should also prioritize the funding towards cyber-physical security and open-source IP in areas like the industrial Internet and precision agriculture.

“While funding has obviously helped make the U.S. a global leader in ICT, government support has had mixed results,” said Mark Bünger, an analyst with Lux Research. “When governments get too enthusiastic, their efforts contaminate the competition, rather than improving it. For the truly big challenges facing the world, this fragmented, noncollaborative and expensive approach threatens to undermine the very goals it seeks to achieve,” he added.

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Microchip has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Atmel for $8.15 per share. The acquisition price represents a total equity value of about $3.56 billion. Meanwhile, II-VI Inc. has offered to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Anadigics’ common stock on a fully diluted basis for $0.66 per share net in cash.

Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is projected to decline 4.7% in 2016, to $59.4 billion, according to Gartner. This is down from the 3.3% growth predicted in Gartner’s previous quarter’s forecast. “The 2016 outlook for the semiconductor manufacturing equipment market reflects a bleaker outlook for end-user electronics demand and the world economic environment,” said David Christensen, senior research analyst at Gartner. “Capital investment policies of leading semiconductor vendors have remained cautious against the background of sluggish electronics demand. However, the long-term outlook shows a return to growth, although the wafer-level manufacturing equipment market is expected to enter a gentle down cycle in 2016 due to the loss of the supply and demand balance in the DRAM market.”

Technavio forecasts the global LED production equipment market to post a CAGR of more than 5% by 2019. The LED production equipment market is set to generate more than $1 billion by 2019. “The market witnessed strong growth in 2014 due to the increasing number of LED fab establishments in Taiwan and China. However, the growth during the forecast period will not witness much fluctuation,” said Technavio analyst Sunil Kumar. “The key factors contributing to the minimal fluctuations in the market are the product life cycle of front-end equipment, which is 5-7 years, and the reduced rate of new LED fab establishments globally.”