The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Self-driving car test; GF’s photonics; Lam’s outlook.


Chipmakers and OEMs
Last month, Arizona approved Google’s Waymo unit to begin testing a commercial self-driving vehicle program. And recently, Waymo released a video showing its first autonomous ride-hailing service. “This development inches us closer than ever to a ‘first-man-on-the-moon’ landmark for Level 5 autonomous transport,” said Derek Viita, an analyst from Strategy Analytics in a blog. “However, bear in mind that this service remains very much in a pilot stage. And as we have reported in our consumer research on mobility choice and autonomous features, numerous factors will affect consumer interest and acceptance, and ultimately wider commercial success.” Here are a list of the concerns for the technology.

GlobalFoundries has revealed new details of its silicon photonics roadmap. The company has now qualified the industry’s first 90nm manufacturing process using 300mm wafers, while also unveiling its upcoming 45nm technology. “The explosive need for bandwidth is fueling demand for a new generation of optical interconnects,” said Mike Cadigan, senior vice president of the ASIC business unit at GF.

Japan’s Denso has increased its stake in Renesas to accelerate the development of various in-vehicle systems, including automated driving systems. Denso will increase its stake in Renesas from 0.5% to 5%.

Fab tools
At a recent financial analyst event, Martin Anstice, Lam Research’s chief executive, discussed the outlook for the wafer fab equipment (WFE) market and other topics. Other Lam executives also gave presentations. Here are some highlights from the meeting.

Screen Semiconductor and Axcelis Technologies have signed a deal under which Screen will distribute and support Axcelis’ ion implant product line in Japan.

EV Group and IBM have signed a licensing agreement on laser debonding technology. EV Group plans to integrate IBM’s Hybrid Laser Release process into its temporary bonding and debonding equipment solutions.

Market research
SEMI’s World Fab Forecast report reveals fab equipment spending will increase at 5% in 2019, which represents the fourth consecutive year of growth. China is expected to be the main driver of fab equipment spending growth, according to SEMI.

IC Insights has raised its IC market forecast from 8% to 15% in 2018. “The biggest adjustments to the original IC market forecasts were to the memory market, specifically the DRAM and NAND flash segments,” according to IC Insights. “The DRAM and NAND flash memory market growth forecasts for 2018 have been adjusted upward to 37% for DRAM (13% shown in March ‘18) and 17% for NAND flash (10% shown in March ‘18).”

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