The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Intel-Micron NAND breakup; UMC-Micron suit; GF-ST FD-SOI deal.

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Chipmakers
Intel and Micron have ended their long-running NAND joint development partnership. The companies will continue to develop NAND, but they will work independently on future generations of 3D NAND.

The companies have agreed to complete the development of their third-generation of 3D NAND technology, which will be delivered towards the end of 2018. That is expected to be a 96-layer device. Beyond that, both companies will develop 3D NAND independently. Both companies will continue to jointly develop and manufacture 3D XPoint, a next-generation memory technology. 3D XPoint is made at Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) joint venture fab in Lehi, Utah. Meanwhile, AnandTech, a hi-tech site, presented some reasons why Intel and Micron ended their efforts in 3D NAND.

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United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Micron Semiconductor Xi’an Co. Ltd. and Micron Semiconductor Shanghai Co. Ltd. in the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The lawsuit covers three areas that allegedly infringe upon UMC’s patent rights in China, including specific memory applications that relate to DDR4, SSD and memory used in graphics cards. In the complaint, UMC has requested the court to order the defendants to stop manufacturing, processing, importing, selling and intending to sell the allegedly infringing products, destroy all inventory and related molds and tools and demand that Micron compensate the company for a total amount of RMB 270 million in damages.

STMicroelectronics has selected GlobalFoundries22nm FD-SOI technology platform to support its next-generation of chip solutions for industrial and consumer applications. After deploying the industry’s first 28nm FD-SOI technology platform, ST is extending its commitment to FD-SOI. GF has been developing a 22nm version of the technology.

Xilinx announced that chief executive and president Moshe Gavrielov is retiring from the company and the board, effective Jan. 28. The board has elected Victor Peng, the company’s chief operating officer, to succeed Gavrielov as CEO.

Dynex Power, a supplier of high power semiconductors, has formed a new Semiconductor Foundry Services business. Dynex supplies IGBTs and bipolar products.

Fab tools
Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL) held a completion ceremony for its new logistics building in Miyagi, Japan. TEL’s Miyagi facility develops and manufactures etch systems.

Astronics updated expectations for 2017 year-end results and revenue guidance for 2018. Astronics announced that bookings for the 2017 fourth quarter were approximately $229 million. The company’s aerospace segment contributed $171 million in orders, which included $17 million in orders related to the Dec. 1, 2017 acquisition of Telefonix PDT. The test segment had $58 million in bookings, which included $56 million for semiconductor test equipment.

SEMI and the Fab Owners Association (FOA) have completed their integration process. The FOA is an international, nonprofit, trade association of semiconductor and MEMS fab owners and industry suppliers. With FOA’s integration with SEMI, the association will leverage SEMI’s global infrastructure and connections to over 2,000 members around the world.

SEMI announced that Luc Van den hove, president and chief executive of Imec, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the SEMI Sales and Marketing Excellence Award, inspired by Bob Graham. He will be honored for his achievements during ceremonies at ISS 2018 on Jan. 17 in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Market research
In a blog, Ajit Manocha, president and chief executive of SEMI, presented an outlook and some challenges for 2018. “2018 is forecast to be another terrific year. IC revenues are expected to increase another 8 percent and semiconductor equipment will grow 11 percent. With diverse digital economy demand continuing, additional manufacturing capacity is being added in China as fab projects come on line to develop and increase the indigenous semiconductor supply chain,” Manocha said.

“Can the industry sustain this growth? The electronics manufacturing supply chain has demonstrated it can generally scale and expedite production to meet the massive new investment projects. The cracks starting to show are in the areas of talent, data management, and Environment, Health, and Safety (EH&S),” he said.



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