The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Fragiphoniphobia; new chip rankings; IBM-GF update; supplier awards.

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Many are suffering from “fragiphoniphobia” without even realizing it, according to Kyocera. This is the fear of fragile phones and worries about the drops and spills ruining our smartphones and disrupting our lives. A recent survey from comScore revealed that 73% of consumers surveyed rated drop protection or scratch-proof/shatter-proof screens as the most desirable durability feature, while 62% said they expect waterproofing to be a standard feature on their next phones. And by the way, Kyocera has rolled out the Hydro Life, a waterproof 4G Android smartphone. It’s also a drop- and shock-proof device.

IC Insights’ top-20 chip ranking includes two pure-play foundries–TSMC and GlobalFoundries–and six fabless companies. Pure-play IC foundry UMC was replaced in the top 20 ranking by Nvidia.

IBM offered $1 billion to persuade Globalfoundries to buy IBM’s loss-ridden chip unit, according to Bloomberg. Globalfoundries wanted about $2 billion.

GlobalFoundries held a job fair in Burlington, Vt., which is in IBM’s back yard. IBM has a fab in Burlington.

GlobalFoundries announced the addition of William “Bill” Davidson as senior vice president and chief administrative officer (CAO). Davidson takes over global leadership of critical corporate functions supporting the company’s worldwide operations, including human resources, IT, corporate marketing and communications, government relations, and risk management. He most recently served in a dual role as senior vice president of strategy and operations, and senior vice president of investor relations at Qualcomm.

Haruo Matsuno, president and CEO of Advantest, has stepped down due to medical issues. He has been replaced by Shinichiro Kuroe, corporate vice president of Advantest, who is the new president and CEO. Matsuno is now a representative director for the ATE company.

STATS ChipPAC announced the recipients of its seventh annual supplier awards.Lam Research and Advantest received supplier awards from the company.

Taiwan is the largest spending market on equipment and materials used in semiconductor manufacturing. Out of the estimated $330 billion spent globally on equipment and materials from 2010 to 2013, almost $80 billion has been spent in Taiwan, and it is expected that combined equipment and materials spending in Taiwan will approach $21 billion this year and $22 billion in 2015, according to SEMI.

Sematech and the newly merged SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE)/SUNY Institute of Technology (SUNYIT) have launched their joint Patterning Center of Excellence. The new center will leverage the CNSE/SUNYIT lithography infrastructure, which includes film deposition, etch and leading-edge patterning systems. It also includes Sematech’s Resist Materials Development Center (RMDC).

Ushio will acquire the LED, red, violet and part of the infrared laser diode business from Oclaro Japan.

Orbotech recently announced the signing of a definitive share purchase agreement to acquire SPTS Technologies Group, a U.K.-based manufacturer of etch, deposition and thermal processing equipment for the microelectronics industry, from European private equity firm Bridgepoint and others.