The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Turning fabs into gardens; IBM, GF stop talking; Singapore’s fab tool R&D labs; book-to-bill goes up.

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Here’s a sad commentary on the state of Japan’s electronics industry: Some Japanese electronics giants are converting unused factories and fabs into agricultural growing facilities, according to The Wall Street Journal. Last month, for example, Fujitsu began selling lettuce from the Aizu-Wakamatsu plant.

It’s officially over. IBM’s talks to sell its chip unit to GlobalFoundries have officially ended, according to Bloomberg.

IBM’s effort to sell its chip business appears to have stalled. GlobalFoundries was looking to buy the unit. Still, three managers from IBM’s chip unit have joined GlobalFoundries, according to reports.

A group led by A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) has launched four semiconductor R&D labs in Singapore. There are four separate labs that will focus on the following areas–lithography, wafer level packaging (WLP), metrology and assembly. The industry partners in the labs include the following companies–Applied Materials, Dai Nippon Printing, Disco, KLA-Tencor, Mentor Graphics, Nikon, Panasonic Factory Solutions Asia Pacific, Pink, Tokyo Electron Ltd. and Tokyo Ohka Kogyo.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted a book-to-bill ratio of 1.09 in June, compared to 1.0 in May, according to SEMI. A book-to-bill of 1.09 means that $109 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.

Advantest’s sales were up 24.7% in the quarter. The ATE company also moved back into the black.

Lam Research recently achieved a milestone with the shipment of its 2,000th VECTOR PECVD module.

In an announcement, power management chip maker Dialog has terminated merger discussions with AMS AG.

Broadcom is winding down its cellular baseband chip business and cutting one-fifth of its total workforce, according to reports.

Sony plans to increase its production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors.

Microsemi has acquired Mingoa, a provider of semiconductor IP for hardware accelerated Ethernet OAM and embedded tests.

Ultra-high-definition televisions (UHD TVs) continued to make slow and steady inroads throughout the world, but their share of the overall flat-panel TV market remained minimal by the end of May, suggesting that UHD TV pricing in the market remains too high to gain meaningful share, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

Analog unit shipments are forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 8.9%, faster than the 7.2% forecast for the total IC market and faster than all other major IC product categories, according to IC Inights.