The Week In Review: Manufacturing

GF’s hiring spree; Applied’s PVD tool for 3D; forecasts for mobile and servers.

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GlobalFoundries’ campus in upstate New York employs over 2,200 workers. It is looking to add 600-800 more people by the end of 2014. The company is seeking out engineers with four-year degrees and technicians with associates degrees. It is also bringing in engineers from IBM to ramp its fab in New York.

Applied Materials introduced the Endura Ventura PVD system that helps reduce the cost of fabricating 3D chips. Integrating 3D stacked devices requires greater than 10:1 aspect ratio TSV interconnect structures to be metallized with copper. The Ventura tool solves this challenge. “Building on 15 years of leadership in copper interconnect technology, the Ventura system enables fabrication of robust high-aspect ratio TSVs, with up to 50 percent barrier seed cost savings compared to copper interconnect PVD systems,” said Sundar Ramamurthy, vice president and general manager of Metal Deposition Products at Applied Materials. “These innovations deliver a higher-performance and more functional, yet, compact chip package with less power consumption to meet leading-edge computing needs.”

Advantest has released its new EVA100 measurement system, an evolutionary value-added platform that combines digital and analog testing capabilities to handle small-pin-count analog, mixed-signal and sensor semiconductors.

The U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reached an agreement at the 18th annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) last week on a series of policy proposals. The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) provides for duty-free treatment of certain information technology products, including semiconductors. Ajit Manocha, 2014 WSC chairman of the U.S. delegation and former CEO of GlobalFoundries, said: “The initiatives presented in the 2014 Joint Statement represent a significant step toward enacting policies that encourage open communication, intergovernmental cooperation, and fair competition throughout the world.”

The 60th annual IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) has issued a ”call for papers’‘ seeking the world’s best original work in all areas of microelectronics research and development. The paper submission deadline is June 23, 2014. The 2014 IEDM will take place in San Francisco from December 15-17, 2014.

Noel Technologies, a Silicon Valley specialty foundry offering process development and substrate fabrication, is now offering services for nanoimprint technology. Noel is developing thin-film deposition techniques with optical lithography to lessen the costs associated with producing the stamps. Also, Noel has been working with different stamp materials and films to shrink the critical dimensions (CD) down to the 0.2-micron range.

Seagate will acquire the assets of LSI’s Accelerated Solutions Division and Flash Components Division from Avago for $450 million in cash. Recently, Avago acquired LSI. “In effect, Seagate is purchasing its flash storage unit which includes Nytro Flash accelerator cards (Nytro WarpDrive, Nytro XP6200, Nytro MegaRAID) and SandForce flash controllers (enterprise, client, cloud computing and industrial markets). We believe that Seagate’s interest could be more on the Nytro Flash accelerator cards as SandForce has had difficultly winning market-share on controller delays,” said Doug Freedman, an analyst with RBC.

Intel has entered into an agreement with Rockchip to expand the breadth of and accelerate the rate at which it brings its Intel architecture and communications-based solutions to market for a range of entry-level Android tablets worldwide.

Worldwide server shipments grew 1.4% in the first quarter of 2014, while server revenue declined 4.1% year over year, according to Gartner.

Based on a greater decline in demand than predicted in the first quarter and concerns that tablets and 2-in-1s will face additional market challenges, IDC has lowered its 2014 worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 forecast to 245.4 million units, down from the previous forecast of 260.9 million units. The new forecast represents a 12.1% year-over-year growth rate, which is lower than the 51.8% year-over-year growth of 2013.

Worldwide smartphone shipments will reach a total of 1.2 billion units in 2014, marking a 23.1% increase from the 1.0 billion units shipped in 2013, according to IDC. From there, total volumes will reach 1.8 billion units in 2018, resulting in a 12.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013–2018.