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The Week In Review: Manufacturing

NAND glut?; GF fab VP; tool/material M&A.

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Chipmakers
3D NAND continues to gain steam, but is the industry headed towards a capacity glut in the overall NAND market? Time will tell.

In any case, Toshiba is moving forward with its plans to invest in its Fab 6 facility in Japan. The fab will produce the company’s 96-layer 3D NAND devices. Then, Samsung plans to invest $7 billion to double the production capacity for NAND flash memory in China, according to Nikkei.

“(Micron) also announced that it will build a new NAND fab in Singapore and will expand its DRAM capacity in Hiroshima,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets, in a research note. In terms of worldwide NAND supply, Twigg projects that bit growth will reach 46% in 2018. Bit growth reached 45% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to 31% in the previous quarter and 37% a year ago, according to KeyBanc.

The big driver for NAND is solid-state storage drives (SSDs). In the first quarter of 2018, the traditional off-season for these products, the SSD market has slowed down, according to DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce. “SSD suppliers have cut prices to enhance PC OEMs’ willingness to adopt their new 64/72-layer 3D-SSD products,” according to the firm.

For the second quarter of 2018, SSD suppliers will continue to expand their capacity of 64/72-layer 3D SSDs, but the growth momentum of demand remains weak, resulting in slight oversupply of SSDs, according to the firm.

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GlobalFoundries has appointed Ronald Sampson as senior vice president and general manager of the company’s 300mm semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility (Fab 8), located in Saratoga County, N.Y. Sampson joined GF in 2014 as the vice president of program management at Fab 8. He replaces Thomas Caulfield, who was recently appointed as GF’s chief executive.

ON Semiconductor has recognized 20 companies with its supplier excellence awards. Brewer Science, Mentor and others received awards.

Fab tools and materials
There is more M&A activity in the fab tool and materials arena. For example, UnitySC, a supplier of advanced inspection and metrology solutions, has acquired HSEB Dresden, a supplier in optical inspection, review and metrology for semiconductor applications.

Brooks Automation has executed a definitive agreement to acquire Tec-Sem Group AG, a provider of semiconductor fab automation equipment with a focus on reticle management.

AkzoNobel has announced the sale of its specialty chemicals business to The Carlyle Group and GIC for an enterprise value of €10.1 billion. This transaction creates two focused and high performing businesses –paints and coatings, and specialty chemicals – as part of its strategy announced in 2017. The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of 2018.

SILTECTRA has validated a breakthrough capability for its COLD SPLIT technology. COLD SPLIT is a wafer-thinning technique for substrate materials like silicon carbide (SiC), gallium nitride (GaN), silicon and sapphire.

Packaging
Kyocera will construct a new manufacturing plant on the premises of its Kagoshima Sendai manufacturing complex in Japan to increase production of ceramic microelectronic packages.

Market research
Combined sales for optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discrete semiconductors (known collectively as O-S-D) increased 11% in 2017—more than 1.5 times the average annual growth rate in the past 20 years—to reach an eighth consecutive record-high level of $75.3 billion, according to IC Insights.

More than Moore devices’ overall wafer demand is expected to grow at an almost 10% CAGR from 2017 to 2023, according to Yole Développement. Wafer demand reached almost 45 million 8-inch wafers in 2017. The wafer demand is expected to reach more than 66 million 8-inch wafers by 2023, according to the firm.



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