The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Chip rankings; 3D fabs; Applied’s results; cobalt tools; GF’s fab exec.

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IC Insights has released its rankings of the Q1 ‘14 top 25 semiconductor suppliers. Outside of the top five spots, there were numerous changes. MediaTek jumped up four positions. Also, last year’s Micron/Elpida merger created a new giant semiconductor company with Micron’s sales expected to be over $17 billion this year.

Toshiba will demolish the No. 2 semiconductor fabrication facility (Fab 2) at Yokkaichi Operations, the company’s NAND Flash memory plant in Mie prefecture, Japan, and replace it with a new fab on the same site. The primary purpose of the new wafer fab is to secure space for converting existing Toshiba and SanDisk 2D NAND capacity to 3D NAND beginning in 2016.

Applied Materials generated orders of $2.63 billion in the quarter, up 15% from the prior quarter led by increases in its Display and Silicon Systems units. Net sales of $2.35 billion were up 7% sequentially led by growth in Silicon Systems.

Applied Materials also announced its Endura Volta CVD Cobalt system, the only tool capable of encapsulating copper interconnects in logic chips beyond the 28nm node by depositing precise, thin cobalt films.

Applied announced that it has scheduled a special meeting of its stockholders for June 23, 2014, at Applied’s corporate offices. The meeting is in connection with the company’s previously announced plan to acquire Tokyo Electron Ltd.

GlobalFoundries has named chip veteran Tom Caulfield as general manager of its fab in New York. Caulfield will lead the operations, expansion and ramp of semiconductor manufacturing production at Fab 8. Most recently, Caulfield served as president and chief operations officer at Soraa. He has also held executive positions at Ausra, IBM and Novellus.

Advantest installed a fully integrated test cell for final testing of MEMS-based sensors used in tire-pressure monitoring systems for China’s fast-growing automotive market. In addition, Advantest announced that a new terahertz power meter, the TAS5500 is available for purchase.

D2S, a supplier of computational design platforms, announced that Linyong (Leo) Pang, a semiconductor industry luminary and former senior executive at Luminescent Technologies, has joined the company as chief product officer and executive vice president.

KLA-Tencor has acquired inverse litho software firm Luminescent.

Fairchild announced the acquisition of Xsens, a supplier of 3D motion tracking products for the industrial, health, fitness and entertainment markets.

Taiwan’s Innolux passed former market leaders Japan Display and Sharp, to become the leading automotive TFT LCD panel supplier in 2013. According to NPD DisplaySearch, Innolux garnered 23% of the automotive TFT LCD market in 2013, followed by Japan Display (21%) and Sharp (18%).