The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Foundry rankings; MRAM record; 3D NAND; gloomy forecasts.


TSMC remained the world’s largest foundry vendor with a 54.3% share in 2015, according to the rankings from Gartner. GlobalFoundries moved into the No. 2 position with 9.6% of the market. The No. 3 position went to UMC with $4.5 billion in revenue, representing 9.3% of the market, according to the firm, which said Samsung remains No. 4. SMIC, which is No. 5, is gaining ground.

Everspin Technologies is shipping 256-Mb ST-MRAM samples to customers. This product breaks the record for the highest density commercial MRAM currently available in the market. Everspin’s 256-Mb ST-MRAM with a DDR3 compatible interface is the first ST-MRAM produced utilizing the 300mm manufacturing MRAM line from its foundry partner, GlobalFoundries. A 1-Gb product will ship later this year.

More M&A? A group has made a bid to acquire Integrated Device Technology (IDT).

Fab tools
3D NAND is ramping up at a rapid pace. The technology is the successor to today’s planar NAND. What is 3D NAND? From an equipment perspective, Lam Research posted a blog on the subject.

Market research
What’s in store for the equipment industry in 2016? “With no evidence of a strong rebound in demand for leading-edge semiconductor chips, we continue to expect semiconductor capex to be up just 2% y/y in 2016, and likely in the same range in 2017. This year, capex still appears moderately 2H-weighted,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, in a report. “We believe demand is tracking largely as expected, or slightly better. We believe 3D NAND equipment ordering activity has been high in CQ1 as Micron, Toshiba, Intel and SK Hynix push to catch up to Samsung, which has already ramped a full 3D NAND fab. We also believe Intel and TSMC have been actively ordering 10nm equipment, supporting demand upside in 2H16. DRAM equipment activity is low, but active, as Micron and SK Hynix migrate to 20nm and as Samsung begins its 1xnm transition.”

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to total $333 billion in 2016, a decrease of 0.6% from 2015, according to Gartner. This is following a decline of 2.3% in 2015, due to weakened demand for key electronic equipment, elevated inventory levels and the continuing impact of the strong dollar in some regions. “For only the second time in its history, the worldwide semiconductor market is expected to have two consecutive years of revenue decline,” said James Hines, research director at Gartner.

Breaking a three-year double-digit-growth streak, the worldwide semiconductor foundry market grew 4.4% in 2015 to achieve $48.8 billion in revenue, according to Gartner. “In 2015, semiconductor device market revenue declined due to excess IC inventory, poor demand for mobile products and PCs, and slowing tablet sales,” said Samuel Wang, research vice president at Gartner. “The slowdown in the device market has driven semiconductor producers to be conservative in placing wafer orders to foundries. Foundry growth was only possible from the high wafer demand by Apple and the revenue conversion of a few integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) to foundries.”

The global semiconductor materials market decreased 1.5% in 2015 compared to 2014 while worldwide semiconductor revenues decreased 0.2%, according to SEMI.

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