The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Missouri tool vendor; green power; Samsung to pass Intel?

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Fab tools, test and packaging
Brewer Science has sold its so-called Cee semiconductor processing equipment business. A former employee, Russ Pagel, has formed a new company, Cost Effective Equipment, to take over ownership and operate the Cee business. The new company, which will remain in Rolla, Mo., will sell spin coaters, bake plates, bonders and other systems.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs rolled out a pilot program for renewable energy or the so-called “Voluntary Purchase of Green Power” in mid-2014. Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) was one of the early volunteers. In fact, ASE this week said that its Taiwan facilities in Kaohsiung and Chung Li has purchased 4.5 million KwH of renewable or “green power” in 2017 from Taiwan Power, a state-owned electrical power utility company. Since 2014, ASE has purchased an accumulated total of 15.2 million KwH green power. This reduced 8,025 metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

National Instruments (NI) has rolled out a new family of PXI arbitrary waveform generators with up to two channels and 80-MHz of analog bandwidth in a single slot. It also introduced a 100-MHz, 8-channel oscilloscope.

Astronics reported its financial results for the three months ended April 1, 2017. Orders for the test systems segment in the quarter were $24.2 million, resulting in a book-to-bill ratio of 1.56 for the quarter. Backlog was $47.6 million at the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Chipmakers
Amid mixed results, Magnachip has reduced its workforce by approximately 140 positions as part of a previously-announced headcount reduction plan. This plan is expected to cut the workforce by over two times a similar headcount reduction plan in 2016 that affected 169 employees.

Market research
If memory market prices continue to hold or increase through the second quarter and the balance of this year, Samsung could charge into the top spot and displace Intel, which has held the #1 ranking since 1993, according to IC Insights.

Apple reported mixed results. “Apple reported total (iPhone) units of 50.8 million and blended ASPs decreased to $655, down 6% quarter/quarter. Apple noted business remained strong despite a challenging currency backdrop and Apple reduced March quarter channel inventory by 1.2 million units versus 0.45 million in March 2016. Channel inventory is currently within the target range of 5-7 weeks. Apple also noted that iPhone demand was impacted to some extent by anticipation for the next iPhone launch but remained strong overall. Apple also saw the highest absolute number of both upgrades and switchers in a 6-month period in iPhone history,” said Amit Daryanani, an analyst with RBC Capital, in a research note.