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The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Broadcom to buy Qualcomm?; green fab; TEL’s results; Trumpf EUV buy.

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Chipmakers
Bloomberg has reported that Broadcom is in talks to acquire Qualcomm for $70 per share or about $90 billion. Qualcomm is attempting to acquire NXP, but Broadcom has its sights on Qualcomm, not NXP. “We think AVGO would want to acquire QCOM assets not NXP,” said Amit Daryanani, an analyst with RBC.

Samsung continues to reshuffle its management amid a plethora of changes at the company. Sang-Hoon (SH) Lee, chief financial officer of Samsung, will step down from his post. But Lee will become new chairman of the company. The company also announced three new co-CEOs. This would mark the first time that the company will separate the chairman and the CEO roles. Samsung also disclosed its CapEx plans and and reported its results. An article from BusinessKorea outlined the challenges for the company.

United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) has announced that its 300mm fab in Xiamen, China has gained LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council. The fab achieved the highest combined score among all 300mm foundry fabs in China. The fab is ramping up both 40nm and 28nm processes.

Andes Technology, a supplier of embedded processor intellectual property (IP), is the latest company to adopt GlobalFoundries’ 22nm FD-SOI technology. Andes’ 32-bit CPU IP cores have been implemented on GF’s 22nm FD-SOI technology.

Fab, packaging and test
Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL) posted strong results in the quarter. Sales were up 18.7% in the period. The business was driven “by buoyant demand for 3D NAND and DRAM,” according to TEL.

The outlook for semiconductor equipment, according to TEL, looks strong. “We expect the overall WFE market to be at least the same size as CY2017 in CY2018. However, from our negotiations with customers, we sense that the levels could exceed our forecasts, particularly in relation to memory. The outlook for FY2019 is also looking favorable,” according to TEL. “By application type, in terms of memory, both DRAM and NAND are likely to be strong. Investment by logic foundries is currently being curtailed by factors such as sluggish growth in the number of mobile handsets, but they plan to undertake an investment in 7nm and for pilot lines of 5nm during CY2018, so we can expect investment to be at least the same as CY2017.”

U.S.-based Access Laser Co. (ALC) and Germany’s Trumpf have entered into an agreement where Trumpf will acquire an 85% share of ALC. Trumpf is a supplier of lasers. By acquiring a majority stake in ALC, Trumpf has secured a key player in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. “Access Laser is a core partner in our EUV business and a highly innovative laser company,” said Peter Leibinger, managing partner and CTO of Trumpf. “Together, we will be working even closer to further improve EUV performance, as well as serving more applications and customers looking for innovative, low-power CO2 lasers.”

Park Systems, a supplier of atomic force microscopes (AFM), announced the opening of the Park NanoScience Center at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly). The new Park Nanoscience Center will be located in the NanoFab East Building of SUNY Poly’s Albany campus. It will also be equipped with the latest Park AFM systems.

FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, has announced a new development project with PARC, a Xerox company. The plan is to develop a bendable, paper-like smart tag incorporating a thin audio speaker. The product is aimed at applications in packaging, wearable prosthetics, soft robotics, smart tags, and smart cities and homes.

ACM Research, a semiconductor equipment maker, recently announced plans to file an initial public offering (IPO). As it turns out, the company has lowered its targets for the IPO, according to a report from the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) recently posted its results. Here’s a transcript of the conference call to discuss those results.

Astronics Test Systems (ATS) has introduced an expansion of its ATS 5034 System-Level Test (SLT) Platform. Featuring new semi-automatic solutions in a scalable system, the ATS 5034 now offers lower volume, higher mix, small lot, and/or longer test duration options for semiconductor manufacturers.

Market research
What ever happened to the long-awaited smartphone or tablet that was supposed to incorporate a foldable display?

The technology was promised for years. Samsung, Apple and others have been developing folding-display smartphone designs. “The major stumbling block has been the durability of the display and its ability to fold and unfold thousands of times without damage,” according to a report from Strategy Analytics. “That hurdle appears to have been cleared and we anticipate small volumes of foldable single-display smartphones will come to market in 2018.”



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