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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

200mm WFE market share; AI degree program; STEM education.


Fab tools, packaging/test
VLSI Research has released its 200mm wafer fab equipment (WFE) market share figures for 2019. The top three suppliers–Applied Materials, TEL, and ASML—saw growth in the 2019 200mm WFE business. Lam Research was in fourth place, followed by KLA and Canon. In total, 200mm wafer fab equipment sales were $3.6 billion in 2019, declining 5% from 2018, according to the firm.

FormFactor has raised its outlook for the quarter. Previously, FormFactor projected that sales for the quarter and factory output would be down 10%, implying revenues in the range of $145 million, according to Cowen. FormFactor now expects second quarter revenue to be between $157 million and $161 million. “Our original May 6th estimate that revenue in the second quarter would be approximately 10% lower than in our first quarter contemplated some level of Covid-19 disruption in our manufacturing operations and our suppliers’ logistics chains. We experienced no major disruptions in either, and as a result, we expect to report revenue higher than what we had originally anticipated,” said Mike Slessor, chief executive of FormFactor.

Galaxy Semiconductor has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of the Quantix business from Mentor Graphics, a Siemens-owned business. The acquisition will allow Galaxy to expand its efforts into test data management and analysis solutions for the semiconductor industry. The transaction is expected to close in a few weeks. The terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

POET Technologies has signed a letter of intent to establish a joint venture with Xiamen Sanan Integrated Circuit of China. The venture will manufacture high-performance optical engines based on POET’s proprietary CMOS-compatible optical interposer platform technology.

SEMI FlexTech has announced the launch of three projects to accelerate sensor and sensor system innovations for new applications in industries including healthcare, automotive, industrial and defense. In collaboration with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), FlexTech, a SEMI Technology Community, will fund half of the total $2.6 million for the projects aimed at maturing the flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) technology ecosystem.

Chipmakers and OEMs
Intel is partnering with Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) in Arizona to launch the first Intel-designed artificial intelligence (AI) associate degree program in the United States. The Arizona Commerce Authority will also provide a workforce grant of $100,000 to support the program. It will enable tens of thousands of students to land careers in high-tech, healthcare, automotive, industrial and aerospace fields. Based in Tempe, Arizona, MCCCD is the largest community college district in the U.S. with an estimated enrollment of more than 100,000 students across 10 campuses.

Cree has donated $3.5 million to support STEM education programs for the SUNY Polytechnic Institute to help train tomorrow’s high-tech workforce. The initiative will lead to the establishment of the “Cree|Wolfspeed Scholarship” program and the Dr. John Edmond and Dr. John Palmour SUNY Polytechnic Institute Endowed Faculty Chairs for the continued expansion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities for students at SUNY Poly.

II‐VI has signed an agreement with General Electric to license GE’s technology to manufacture silicon carbide (SiC) devices and modules for power electronics.

Micron Technology has announced its results for the third quarter of fiscal 2020, which ended May 28. Revenue was $5.44 billion for the quarter versus $4.80 billion for the prior quarter and $4.79 billion for the same period last year. “MU posted F3Q results above its recent pre-announcement range, as it benefited from strong cloud demand, the shift to higher-value products, improving supply, and good execution amid the pandemic,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst at KeyBanc, in a research note. “Cloud DRAM sales grew significantly q/q, while cloud SSD revenue more than doubled q/q. MU also anticipates revenue and EPS to grow meaningfully in F4Q as trends continue, even after accounting for a longer 14-week quarter. In C2H20, MU expects datacenter strength to continue, smartphone and consumer demand to improve, and gaming-related demand to improve with the ramp of new Xbox and Playstation consoles. While near-term guidance is encouraging, it is important to note that visibility remains low amid the pandemic, and recent Huawei restrictions add to uncertainty in the mobile market.”

Kioxia, the flash memory spinoff of Toshiba, will soon complete its acquisition of Lite-On’s solid state drive (SSD) business. Separately, Kioxia has announced the appointment of Michael Splinter as an independent director. Splinter served as president and CEO of Applied Materials from 2003 to 2012 and as chairman of the board of directors since 2009 until he retired in 2015. Splinter currently serves as an external director of TSMC and as chairman of NASDAQ.

The U.S. has stepped up its efforts to prevent China’s Huawei from obtaining U.S. chips and software. And this week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally determined that Huawei and ZTE pose a national security threat to the integrity of the U.S. communications networks and communications supply chain. This decision means that funds from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund cannot be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services provided by Huawei or ZTE.

Market research
The emerging market for silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductors is forecast to pass $1 billion in 2021, according to Omdia. Worldwide revenue from sales of SiC and GaN power semiconductors is projected to rise to $854 million by the end of 2020, up from just $571 million in 2018, according to Omdia. Market revenue is expected to increase at a double-digit annual rate for the next decade, passing $5 billion by 2029. Demand is fueled by hybrid and electric vehicles, power supplies, and photovoltaic (PV) inverters.


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