The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Intel pushes out 10nm; FD-SOI; multi-beam security alliance.

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Chipmakers
As reported, Intel is struggling at 10nm. Intel already has encountered some difficulties, as the chip giant late last year pushed out the volume ramp of its new 10nm process from the second half of 2017 to the first part of 2018, according to analysts.

Intel continues to struggle with 10nm, and has delayed the volume ramp again, according to multiple reports. During its earnings call this week, Intel said: “Intel is currently shipping low-volume 10nm product and now expects 10nm volume production to shift to 2019.”

Intel blamed the problem on multiple patterning issues.

Meanwhile, TSMC has begun shipping its 7nm process, according to the company. So based on that, TSMC has argubly taken the lead in the process technology race in the 10nm/7nm arena.

Both Intel and TSMC are using 193nm immersion lithography for 10nm/7nm. Samsung has not moved into production at 7nm. Samsung hopes to ramp up 7nm using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which isn’t ready.

GlobalFoundries hopes to ramp up 7nm this year.

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GlobalFoundries has announced that Arbe Robotics has selected GF’s 22nm FD-SOI process for its imaging radar technology. Arbe’s radar has demonstrated real-time 1 degree resolution and provides the required enhancements for sensors and ADAS technologies. Arbe’s goal is to build a sensing system with high resolution and zero false alarms, so vehicles will be able to make decisions relying exclusively on the data provided by the radar.

United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) posted its results. First quarter consolidated revenue was up 2.4% from the like period a year ago. “In the first quarter of 2018, despite the unfavorable movement of the NT dollar, our foundry revenue increased 2.5% QoQ to NT$37.44 billion. Stable loading across 8- and mature 12-inch technologies resulted in an overall utilization rate of 94%, bringing wafer shipments to 1.75 million 8-inch equivalent wafers. Softening demand in smartphone and other wireless devices was more than offset by strength in the computer and consumer segments,” said Jason Wang, co-president of UMC, in a statement.

Fab tool makers
A group of companies and a university have launched a multi-beam direct-write alliance in Taiwan. The program is targeted for pilot production of security chips.

The program is called the MEB12 or the massively E-beam direct-write lithography for 12-inch silicon wafers. Screen Semiconductor has signed a memorandum of understanding with National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan to launch the program. The MEB12 program also includes Mapper Lithography, a supplier of multi-beam direct-write systems. Mapper’s tool is targeted for “on-chip security” applications. Screen will support the MEB12 program with its coat/develop track and single-wafer cleaning systems. EDA supplier Synopsys is also part of the group.

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KLA-Tencor has reported a net income of $307 million, or $1.95 per share, on revenues of $1.021 billion for the quarter. “KLA-Tencor delivered another record performance in the March quarter, with revenue topping $1 billion in the period, and finishing at the upper end of the range of guidance,” commented Rick Wallace, president and chief executive officer of KLA-Tencor.

TEL posted its results. Sales were up 38.1% amid a boom in the DRAM and NAND flash markets. Separately, TEL also announced plans to construct new manufacturing buildings at its subsidiary, Tokyo Electron Technology Solutions. The new buildings will be built at the subsidiary’s Yamanashi (Fujii) and Tohoku office sites.

Advantest reported its results. Sales and orders were up for the ATE giant.

Market research
North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $2.42 billion in billings worldwide in March 2018, according to SEMI. The billings figure is 0.4% higher than the final February 2018 level of $2.41 billion, and is 16.7% higher than the March 2017 billings level of $2.08 billion.



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