Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

TSMC fab controversy; display equipment rankings; iPhone 12 leaks.


Chipmakers and OEMs
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) have sent a letter to officials from the Trump administration, demanding answers about TSMC’s recent announcement to build a fab in Ariz. As reported, TSMC has announced its intention to build and operate an advanced semiconductor fab in the U.S. The fab, to be built in Arizona, will move into production in 2024.

The senators believe that it’s important to have a strong U.S. semiconductor industry, but they want to know if TSMC was offered incentives. They also contend that TSMC’s proposed and one-time fab is “inadequate” in terms of rebuilding the technology base in the U.S.


Samsung has announced plans to boost its foundry capacity at its new production line in Pyeongtaek, Korea. The new foundry line, which will focus on 5nm and below process technologies, has commenced construction this month and is expected to be in full operation in the second half of 2021. The facility is processing chips using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

GlobalFoundries has announced plans to implement export control security measures at its most advanced manufacturing facility, Fab 8, in Malta, New York. GF will bring its Fab 8 facility into compliance with both the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) standards and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). GF will implement ITAR standards for its 12nm finFET technology. By taking this step, GF has expanded its partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

Later this year, Apple is expected roll out its new iPhone 12 products. There are several leaks about the specs. Here’s one from MacRumors as well as another one from DSCC.

Fab tools and materials
DSCC has released its projected market share rankings for display equipment in 2020. In 2020, Canon is expected to reclaim the top supplier in display equipment in terms of market share, topping Applied Materials in the arena, according to estimates from DSCC. Applied will drop to second place, followed in order by Nikon, TEL and Screen.

KLA is establishing another facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company has several jobs here.

Hitachi High-Tech has acquired the shares of Techcomp Scientific, a supplier of electron microscopes, spectrophotometers and liquid chromatographs.

D2S, a supplier of GPU-accelerated solutions for semiconductor manufacturing, has become the newest member of the Electronic System Design Alliance, a SEMI Strategic Technology Community representing members in the electronic system and semiconductor design ecosystem.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $30 million in funding for research and development that focuses on field validation and demonstration, as well as next-generation extraction, separation, and processing technologies for critical materials.

Qorvo has been awarded a contract to further advance the development of copper-pillar-on-GaN flip-chip technology. This DoD program will create a high-yield domestic foundry to mature the copper flip assembly process, which enables vertical die stacking in space-constrained phased-array radar systems and other defense electronics.

Market research
North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $2.26 billion in billings worldwide in April 2020, according to SEMI. The billings figure is 2.2% higher than the final March 2020 level of $2.21 billion, and is 17.2% higher than the April 2019 billings level of $1.93 billion. “April billings of North America-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers reflect healthy equipment demand,” said Ajit Manocha, SEMI president and CEO. “The industry is performing well under extraordinary conditions, though uncertainty persists due to COVID-19 concerns and rising geopolitical tensions.”

Here’s the latest from IDC: “Leading indicators for IT spending appear to be stabilizing and bottoming out in many countries, reflecting a period of relative calm before economic lockdown measures are expected to be eased in the next few weeks. However, confidence levels in the US continue to plunge and US firms show a wide range of expectations, including some that anticipate even deeper cuts to IT spending than two weeks ago.”

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