The Week In Review: Manufacturing

ISS highlights; tool buying spree; OSAT awards; PXI rolls.


Market research
The SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) opened with the theme “Smart, Intuitive & Connected: Semiconductor Devices Transforming the World.” Click here for some of the highlights at ISS. Here are more highlights from ISS.

Korea is on a spending spree for fab tools. In total, Samsung and SK Hynix are forecast to invest over $20 billion in fab tools worldwide in 2018, according to SEMI’s World Fab Forecast.

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to total $451 billion in 2018, an increase of 7.5% from $419 billion in 2017, according to Gartner. This represents a near doubling of Gartner’s previous estimate of 4% growth for 2018. “Favorable market conditions for memory sectors that gained momentum in the second half of 2016 prevailed through 2017 and (is) set to continue in 2018, providing a significant boost to semiconductor revenue,” said Ben Lee, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Gartner has increased the outlook for 2018 by $23.6 billion compared with the previous forecast, of which the memory market accounts for $19.5 billion. Price increases for both DRAM and NAND flash memory are raising the outlook for the overall semiconductor market.”

Packaging and test
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) has been recognized by Thomson Reuters as a 2018 Top 100 Global Technology Leader. The inaugural program identifies the tech industry’s most operationally sound and financially successful organizations.

STATS ChipPAC has been ranked among the world’s top 10 semiconductor equipment manufacturing companies in the 2017 Patent Power Scorecards published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This is the eighth consecutive year that STATS ChipPAC has been recognized in the annual scorecards.

Global A&T Electronics, an OSAT that fell into bankruptcy, announced a court-approved restructuring plan. Global A&T is part of UTAC. The restructuring will reduce the company’s funded debt from approximately $1.12 billion to a total of $665 million and reduce its annual debt service by nearly half from $113 million to approximately $56.5 million. The restructuring will consolidate Global A&T with its sister company UMS, allowing for greater operational synergy and liquidity. With the reduction in interest expense, UTAC is expected to generate positive free cashflow after interest and capital spending.

National Instruments (NI) has rolled out the PXIe-4163 high-density source measure unit (SMU), which provides six times more DC channel density than previous SMUs for testing RF, MEMS, and mixed-signal and other analog semiconductor components.

Fab tools
In a blog, Lam Research provides the basics about memory, which plays a critical role in enabling various systems.

Prabu Raja has been named senior vice president leading the Semiconductor Products Group at Applied Materials. In this role, he leads Applied’s semiconductor process equipment businesses and the global field organization. Raja was previously group vice president and general manager of the Patterning and Packaging Group. Meanwhile, Steve Ghanayem has been named senior vice president for the New Markets and Alliances Group at Applied Materials. In this role, he is responsible for increasing Applied’s focus on organic and inorganic growth in new and adjacent markets, as well as new business and partnership models. Ghanayem was previously group vice president and general manager of the Transistor and Interconnect Group.

Beijing NAURA Microelectronics Equipment, a supplier of semiconductor capital equipment headquartered in Beijing China, has completed the deal to acquire the assets of Akrion Systems, an Allentown Penn.-based supplier of wet-processing systems providing surface preparation for the microelectronic, photovoltaic and display industries.

TSMC posted its results. The management further expects the 2018 capital budget to be between $10.5 billion and $11 billion.

Texas Instruments said that its board of directors has selected Brian Crutcher to become the company’s next president and chief executive, effective June 1. Crutcher, a 22-year veteran of TI, succeeds current president and CEO, Rich Templeton, who will transition out of these roles over the next four months but will remain the company’s chairman. The transition is a planned succession that follows Crutcher’s promotion to senior vice president in 2010, executive vice president in 2014, chief operating officer in 2017 and election to the board of directors last July.

In 2018, the industry needs to keep a close eye on 3D NAND as the vendor base is in the midst of some major changes. The changes involve several partnerships, including the Toshiba/Western Digital and Intel/Micron duos. It also impacts the other 3D NAND players, namely Samsung and SK Hynix

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