The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Intel, Samsung IC rankings battle; 3D NAND; wireless test; auto paper.

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Market research
Intel held a slim 4% lead over Samsung for the number one position in terms of chip sales in the first quarter, according to IC Insights. But as reported, Samsung is on pace to displace Intel as the world’s largest semiconductor supplier in the second quarter, according to the firm. Meanwhile, in the ranking, SK Hynix and Micron made the biggest moves. And there was one new entrant into the top-10 ranking–Infineon. Infineon replaced MediaTek.

Prices of mobile DRAM are up. “The sharp upswing in prices of mobile DRAM products is expected to hold back the growth of average per device memory content for smartphones this year,” according to TrendForce. “Furthermore, TrendForce has lowered the estimated average memory content of smartphones for 2017, from 3.7GB to 3.2GB. The revised average memory content figure represents an increase of 33.4% compared with the 2016 figure.”

In a research report issued this week, Weston Twigg, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, said: “NAND supply will likely swing to oversupply by Q4 2017 and back to undersupply by Q3 2018. In the near term, NAND supply remains muted due primarily to the challenges of ramping 64-layer 3D NAND technology, in our view; this should keep pricing tight into Q3. However, we expect a meaningful production ramp by 2H17, which should result in sharp capacity increases and a decline in pricing. By 2H18, however, we believe that scaling inefficiencies in 3D NAND, along with more challenging y/y comparisons, will result in sharply lower y/y bit growth and a likely pricing recovery.”

Chipmakers
Racyics has launched makeChip, a design service platform using GlobalFoundries’ 22nm FD-SOI process and supported by Cadence. The platform provides an IT infrastructure with a set of EDA tools and IP.

China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) has announced the appointment of Haijun Zhao as chief executive, replacing Tzu-Yin Chiu, who will continue to serve as vice chairman and non-executive director of the board. Zhao was executive vice president and chief operating officer of SMIC.

Test
National Instruments (NI) has announced updates to the Wireless Test System (WTS). This is NI’s solution for multisite automated testing of wireless devices. The latest release 1.3 of the WTS includes support for 8×8 multichannel configurations and custom 802.11ax test steps. Additionally, release 1.3 of the WTS improves parallel test of Bluetooth 5, ZigBee and Z-Wave.

At the IoT World and Connected & Autonomous Vehicles event in Santa Clara, Calif. on May 16-18, Optimal+ VP of Worldwide Marketing David Park will present a paper, entitled “Achieving Zero PPM in Automotive Semiconductors and Electronics.” It will focus on leveraging big data analytics to achieve zero PPM for the automotive sector.