The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Equipment supplier ranking; ‘Porcupine’ test; China buys Xcerra; IC forecasts.


Fab equipment and test
VLSI Research has released its top 10 semiconductor equipment supplier ranking in terms of sales in 2016. Applied Materials topped the list again, achieving a growth of 18%. ASML was second, followed by Lam Research, TEL and KLA-Tencor.

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 8.47.38 AM
Fig. 1: Ranking based on 2016 sales. Source: VLSI Research.

Unic Capital Management, a Chinese-based private equity fund, announced plans to buy U.S.-based ATE vendor Xcerra for $580 million. Xcerra, formerly known as LTX, is the world’s third largest ATE vendor, behind Teradyne and Advantest.

National Instruments (NI) and AT&T have announced their collaboration on one of the world’s fastest and most accurate tools for 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) channel characterization. The technology, dubbed “Porcupine,” is a channel sounder that is proprietary to AT&T. It provides real-time channel parameter measurement and monitoring capability.

In the ATE probe card market, FormFactor remained in first place in the rankings in terms of sales in 2016, according to VLSI Research. FormFactor, Micronics Japan, Technoprobe JEM, and MPI maintained their positions in probe cards and gained market share, according to VLSI.

According to RBC, citing Reuters and Nikkei as its source, there are four bidders for Toshiba’s semiconductor unit, including its prized NAND technology–Western Digital, Foxconn, SK Hynix and Broadcom-Silverlake. Stay tuned.

Qualcomm has filed a countersuit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. “Qualcomm’s filing details the value of the technologies Qualcomm has invented, contributed and shared with the industry through its licensing program, as well as Apple’s failure to engage in good faith negotiations for a license to Qualcomm’s 3G and 4G standard essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms,” according to Qualcomm.

Market research
Gartner has raised its IC forecast, saying that the semiconductor industry is expected to grow 12.3% in 2017. Separately, SEMI said that the worldwide semiconductor photomask market was $3.32 billion in 2016 and is forecasted to reach $3.57 billion in 2018. After increasing 1% in 2015, the photomask market increased 2% in 2016. The mask market is expected to grow 4% and 3% in 2017 and 2018, respectively, according to SEMI.

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