The Week In Review: Manufacturing

DRAM shortages; fabless rankings; rad-hard SRAMs; AMAT results.


Market research
For some time, DRAM shortages have plagued the market. Today, the situation remains the same. DRAMs are seeing strong demand. But yet, vendors are not adding any capacity. “Strained DRAM supply was even more evident during the third quarter as limited production capacity and limited technological progress for the memory industry encountered robust demand from data centers in North America. With the ASP rising, server DRAM suppliers saw substantial increase in their revenues,” according to DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce.

DRAMeXchange analyst Mark Liu said that demand will remain strong for DRAM in the fourth quarter. “The contract prices of server memory modules for the year’s final quarter are projected to increase by 6% to 10% on average compared with the third quarter,” according to the research firm.


In the latest rankings, Broadcom, Qualcomm and Nvidia are the top three fabless design houses in terms of sales in the third quarter, according to TrendForce. MediaTek remains in fourth, but the company’s sales continue to fall. (If you haven’t heard the news, Broadcom is trying to buy Qualcomm.)

Fig. 1: Broadcom tops Qualcomm. (Source: TrendForce)

Cypress Semiconductor’s 65nm and 40nm SRAMs have achieved Qualified Manufacturers List (QML) certification. The next-generation 144-Mbit Quad Data Rate (QDR) II+, 144-Mbit QDR IV and 16-Mbit Asynchronous SRAM devices are manufactured at UMC’s Fab 12A in Tainan, Taiwan. The radiation-hardened devices were qualified under the QML-V certification for aerospace-grade applications. QML certification is administered by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Land and Maritime. It represents one of the most stringent quality procedures implemented by the U.S. government to ensure reliable and controlled supply of microelectronic components.

SkyWater Technology Foundry, which was spun out from Cypress Semiconductor, has recently named Thomas Sonderman as president. Interim-CEO Gary Obermiller will continue to serve as chairman.

Fab tools and test
Applied Materials reported record results in its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Oct. 29, 2017. Compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016, Applied grew net sales by 20% to $3.97 billion. In fiscal 2017, Applied grew net sales by 34% to $14.54 billion.

Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL) held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new building. The new building, called Tokyo Electron Miyagi, develops and manufactures etch systems. The new development building is scheduled to be completed in September 2018.

Lam Research has recently formed a venture capital arm. The group, called Lam Research Capital (Lam Capital), is chartered to invest in companies. In a blog, Jeff Marks, president of Lam Research Capital, talks about the venture capital group. Lam Research also announced that its board has approved a $2 billion share repurchase authorization, with execution planned over the next 12 to 18 months.

Nanometrics has named Pierre-Yves Lesaicherre as president and chief executive, effective Nov. 27. Lesaicherre has also been elected to the board. He replaces current CEO Tim Stultz, who is retiring but will remain on the board. Lesaicherre most recently served as chief executive of Lumileds, a provider of LEDs.

National Instruments has rolled out the PXIe-1095 chassis, the industry’s first PXI Chassis with 58 watts of dedicated power and cooling per slot. This represents a 50% increase in power and cooling per slot compared to previously released NI PXI Express chassis.

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