The Week In Review: July 8

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By Mark LaPedus
Fab tool vendors this week will gather at the annual Semicon West trade show in San Francisco. The mood is expected to be both gloomy and upbeat, at least based on one new and mixed forecast. The semiconductor equipment market is projected to fall 7.4% in 2013, but it will grow 27.1% in 2014, according to VLSI Research. The forecast for semis is up 10% in 2013 and 8.3% growth in 2014, according to the firm.

Happy days are here again for U.S. chip manufacturing, in particular. “Six years ago, the outlook for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing was dim and dimmer,” said Karen Savala, president, SEMI Americas, in the group’s global update. “Today, the outlook for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing couldn’t be more promising.”

In a report from Advanced Substrate News, Shigeru Shimauchi, country manager of GlobalFoundries Japan, said for the same level of performance, the die cost for 28nm FD-SOI will be substantially less than for 28nm bulk high performance-plus.

SEMI announced that Ajit Manocha, CEO of GlobalFoundries, has been selected to receive the “SEMI Outstanding EHS Achievement Award — Inspired by Akira Inoue.”

BOE Technology Group, the largest flat panel display manufacturer in China, has placed significant orders for advanced Gen 8.5 and Gen 5.5 display production equipment from Applied Materials for use in multiple facilities.

Nikon has partnered with SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) in a $350 million investment to develop 450mm lithography tools. Nikon will also join the G450C as an associate member.

Intel is in talks with Israel to invest $10 billion in the country, reports Reuters.

Toshiba will expand its Fab 5 plant at Yokkaichi Operations in Mie, Japan. The fab is geared for NAND flash memories based on 2D and 3D technologies. The construction will start at the end of August this year and be completed in the summer of next year.

SanDisk announced a definitive agreement to acquire SMART Storage Systems, a developer of enterprise solid state drives (SSDs) based on the SATA and SAS storage protocols.

Dialog Semiconductor has entered into an agreement to acquire iWatt, a provider of digital power management integrated circuits, for $310 million, with additional contingent consideration of up to $35 million.

Boosted by orders from unbranded, white-box Chinese manufacturers, global demand for tablet panels is exceeding expectations, spurring IHS to increase its forecast for displays by 6% for 2013.

Since 2008, the majority of integrated circuit production has taken place on 300mm wafers. In terms of surface area shipped, 300mm wafers represented 56% of worldwide installed capacity in December 2012. Production using 300mm wafers is forecast to steadily increase and reach 70.4% in 2017, according to IC Insights.