The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Altera’s 10nm foundry selection; Nvidia’s new foundry partner; SOI demand; SPIE recap.


For years, Altera’s sole foundry was TSMC. Then, not long ago, Altera selected Intel as its foundry partner for 14nm. TSMC still handles 20nm and above work for Altera. Now, Altera will soon select a foundry partner for 10nm. “Altera will make a decision on which foundry partner it will choose for 10nm finFET at the end of 1Q15, noting it will decide between Intel and TSMC,” said John Vinh, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, in a report. Meanwhile, Altera is expected to ship its 14nm FPGAs in the fourth quarter of 2015, which is later than previously expected. Intel’s 14nm finFET process is up and running. Why the delay? “The challenge was more front-end loaded,” said John Daane, president and CEO of Altera, at a recent event.

It appears that Samsung Electronics has landed a new foundry customer. “Based on Nvidia’s 10-K filings as well as discussions with Nvidia management, we believe that Nvidia has a second source for foundry wafers in Samsung, outside of TSMC,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Doug Freedman, in a report. “While it may be a small part of the wafer supply today, it should create a tailwind for GM% going forward as we believe that non-TSMC wafers can be purchased at as much as 10% below present cost levels.”

Silicon wafer maker SunEdison Semiconductor said that the industry could raise wafer prices in the second half of this year. In addition, the company recently said that SOI is demand up and SOI capacity is fully booked through 2015. “On SOI, major customers have signed long-term agreements (we think likely STMicro, Samsung and GlobalFoundries), going from 5% of sales in C4Q14 to 8%-10% of sales by C4Q15, and SOI is booked through 2015,” said Srini Sundararajan, an analyst with Summit Research Partners, in a report.

Samsung Electronics has introduced a mobile memory storage device, based on the Embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) 5.0 technology. The new 128-gigabyte, 3-bit NAND-based eMMC 5.0 storage device is targeted at smartphones and tablets.

In a video, Aki Fujimura, CEO of D2S, recaps the highlights from the recent SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference.

GlobalFoundries announced the creation of a new collaborative effort pledging $486,000 over the next three years to support local science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education through the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). The FRC is a competition for high school students. This new coalition of companies includes GlobalFoundries and a number of the company’s supply chain partners involved in the Fab 8 campus, including Applied Materials, ASML, KLA-Tencor, Lam Research, Mattson, M+W Group, PDF Solutions, Screen Semiconductor Solutions and Turner Construction.

Applied Ventures, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials, has participated in a Series B financing round for RayVio , a light emitting diode (LED) company.

SEMI reported that worldwide sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment totaled $37.50 billion in 2014, representing a year-over-year increase of 18%.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $1.31 billion in orders worldwide in February 2015 and a book-to-bill ratio of 1.02, according to SEMI.

Electro Scientific Industries (ESI) announced a corporate restructuring that will streamline its manufacturing and development operations. The restructuring will result in the closure of the assembly plant and development center located in Chelmsford, Mass., and overall staff reductions of approximately 45 employees.

Microsemi has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Vitesse for approximately $389 million.

IC Insights released its forecasts for 33 major IC product categories through 2019. IC Insights forecasts a solid growth year for automotive-specific ICs. In fact, special-purpose logic for automotive apps is projected to be the fastest growing market in 2015. DRAM is in second place.

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