The Week In Review: Manufacturing

LED modules; CapEx forecasts; fab expansions; LCD glut.

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Samsung introduced inFlux, a new lineup of high-flux, linear LED modules optimized for industrial lighting applications such as plants, parking lots and warehouses. The LED modules serve as a replacement for conventional T8 and T5HO tubes and are suitable for high-flux LED luminaires covering up to 40,000lm.

The semiconductor market is off to a slow start in 2016. And it might be a long year in the equipment business. VLSI Research projects the IC equipment market will reach $46.8 million in 2016, down 5% over 2015. That compares to a decline of 0.6% in 2015. On the bright side, the IC market is expected to increase by 4.1% in 2016, according to the firm. It fell by 1.3% in 2015.

Semiconductor industry capital spending was $65.9 billion in 2015, roughly flat from 2014, according to IC Insights. The market research firm forecasts semiconductor capital spending will decrease 1% in 2016. “Spending on flash memory and within the foundry segment is forecast to increase in 2016, but spending for all other market segments, including DRAM, is expected to decline,” according to IC Insights. “Semiconductor capital spending as a percent of sales is forecast to remain in the mid- to high-teens range through 2020. IC Insights believes spending at this level will not lead to an industry-wide overcapacity during the forecast period.”

Toshiba is gearing up for future expanded production of 3D NAND by acquiring land adjacent to its Yokkaichi Operations memory production complex in Mie prefecture. The land borders the eastern and northern parts of the complex, and will cost approximately 3 billion yen.

The Taiwan government has approved a plan by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) to build a 300mm fab in China.

ATE probe card supplier FormFactor has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire rival Cascade for $352 million in cash and stock.

Quantum dot manufacturer Quantum Materials has entered into a joint venture with Guanghui Technology Group (GTG) whereas GTG will invest $20 million for building out a quantum dot facility in China.

The ongoing issue of liquid crystal display (LCD) oversupply–exacerbated by China’s aggressive investment in production capacity as well as high fab utilization–will continue well into 2016. The supply of large-area LCD is expected to be 14% greater than demand in 2016, up from 12% in 2015, according to IHS

Gartner forecasts that 274.6 million wearable electronic devices will be sold worldwide in 2016, an increase of 18.4% from 232.0 million units in 2015. Sales of wearable electronic devices will generate revenue of $28.7 billion in 2016. Of that, $11.5 billion will be from smartwatches. “From 2015 through 2017, smartwatch adoption will have 48% growth largely due to Apple popularizing wearables as a lifestyle trend. Smartwatches have the greatest revenue potential among all wearables through 2019, reaching $17.5 billion,” said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner. “Though the sales of smartwatches are the one of the strongest types of wearables, their adoption will remain much below sales of smartphones. For example, in 2016 more than 374 million smartphones will sell in mature market countries and in large urban areas of emerging market countries, for example, in Hong Kong and Singapore.”