The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Clean money; GF’s 180nm UHV process; UMC’s IC 2.0; Imec’s microfluidics cooling; tariffs.


Cleanliness is a good thing. In the fab, it’s also a very profitable thing. According to a report from Research and Markets, the wafer cleaning systems market will grow more than 6%. The research house notes, however, that the rate of growth is slowing.

GlobalFoundries began volume production of its 180nm ultra-high-voltage process for industrial and power applications. The base platform starts at 3.3V, with options up to 700V, which the company says will reduce the bill of materials by integrating discrete components onto the same die. The foundry also announced that its 22nm FD-SOI technology has been certified as AEC-Q100 Grade 2 for automotive applications, meaning its technology can withstand stress tests for an extended period of time.

UMC began pitching the concept of IC 2.0, or intelligently connected devices, at its China Technology Forum in Shanghai. The foundry is emphasizing specialized technologies, IP, and a strong in-country manufacturing presence for Chinese customers designing AI, 5G, IoT and automotive applications.

Imec demonstrated a low-cost “impingement solution” for cooling chips at the package level. The microfluidics technology works like a 3D-printed shower head that sprays coolant directly onto a chip. The research house also showed off its ultra-low power radio for IoT applications with Arm, which uses a nominal power supply as low at 0.8V coupled with ARM’s Bluetooth low energy 5 digital baseband. The radio is targeted at “leave-behind” sensors and wearables.

Microsemi unveiled an extremely low-inductance package for high-current, low resistance silicon carbide MOSFET power modules. The modules are aimed at high-current, high-switching-frequency applications in the automotive, industrial, medical, aerospace and defense markets.

TEL uncorked a medium-term management plan and a revised financial model based on increased demand for semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The company cited AI and IoT as two of the key drivers for end market demand.

The World Semiconductor Council, which represents chip industry associations from China, Taiwan, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States, issued a wide-ranging statement that included, among other things, support for a tariff-free industry. The WSC echoed comments from SEMI the prior week. And all of this occurred just days before the Trump administration imposed 25% tariffs on aluminum and steel for Canada, Mexico and the EU.

Apple reportedly has been advertising jobs in Intel’s backyard in Oregon. This comes amid reports that Apple will begin selling Macs with its own chips, presumably manufactured by longtime partner TSMC, over the next couple years.

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