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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

More Arm suitors; Lam 3D printing deal; KLA, PDF results; EDA piracy.

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Chipmakers
Nvidia is in advanced talks to acquire Arm from Softbank, according to numerous reports. In addition, TSMC and Foxconn are looking at possible investments or stakes in Arm, according to a report from Nikkei Asia Review.

Infineon posted mixed results for the third quarter of the 2020 fiscal year. “Infineon has so far coped well with the challenging situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon. “The pandemic continues to have a significant impact on our target markets, resulting in weaker demand in many product areas. Thankfully, we are seeing concrete signs of recovery within the automotive sector, which has been particularly hard hit. Infineon is also benefitting from increased digitization through the growing volume of data traffic, the Internet of Things and mobile communication. Our outlook for the final quarter of the fiscal year is cautiously optimistic. That said, our business performance is highly dependent on how the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold worldwide, on the impact of the economic stimulus packages that have been implemented, and on a variety of geopolitical factors.”

Transphorm, a supplier of gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductors, has received approval from FINRA for its common stock to be listed and quoted on the Over-the-Counter (OTC) market. Transphorm will trade on the OTCQB under the symbol “TGAN.”

Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC), a global semiconductor research consortium, announced the appointment of Todd Younkin as president and CEO. Younkin will start transitioning to his new role on Aug. 18. Younkin is currently executive director of SRC’s Joint University Microelectronics Program (JUMP). Ken Hansen, SRC’s current president and CEO, indicated earlier to the board that he would be retiring in 2020.

Fab tools
VELO3D and Lam Research have announced a joint development agreement that includes collaboration on materials and designs in metal additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing applications for the semiconductor industry. Lam plans to increase the volume of parts produced by AM over the next five years. Starting with a CAD file, AM builds metal parts using lasers to fuse fine metal powder layer by layer. Lam Capital will also invest an undisclosed amount in VELO3D.

Atotech has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Visutech Plating, along with certain assets from its partner company, koenig-pa GmbH. Visutech Plating is a developer of process control and automation systems software used in electroplating and chemical treatment equipment, including many produced by Atotech.

KLA has announced its results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year, ended June 30. KLA reported GAAP net income of $411 million, or $2.63 per share, on revenues of $1.460 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020. “KLA delivered strong results in the June 2020 quarter, with revenue and GAAP and non-GAAP EPS each finishing above the mid-point of our guidance ranges, demonstrating strong demand from customers, exceptional execution by our teams, and the enduring strength and resiliency of our company under today’s extraordinary circumstances,” commented Rick Wallace, president and CEO of KLA.

PDF Solutions has reported its financial results for its second quarter ended June 30. Total revenues were $21.4 million, compared to $21.2 million for the first quarter of 2020 and $20.6 million for the second quarter of 2019. Analytics revenue was $15.2 million, compared to $13.2 million for the first quarter of 2020 and $12.0 million for the second quarter of 2019. Integrated Yield Ramp revenue for the second quarter of 2020 was $6.2 million, compared to $7.9 million for the first quarter of 2020 and $8.6 million for the second quarter of 2019.

Axcelis, a supplier of ion implanters, has reported second quarter revenue of $123 million, compared to $119 million for the first quarter of 2020. Net income for the quarter was $13.3 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, compared to net income for the first quarter of $11.2 million, or $0.33 per diluted share. “Customer interest in our Purion platform remains strong, as evidenced by demo activity and evaluation system placements for both our Purion base platform and our new Purion product extensions,” said Mary Puma, president and CEO of Axcelis.

Brewer Science has been awarded with a “Top Workplaces 2020” honor by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The company was first recognized with this award in 2012, and since then has won the “Top Workplace Award” seven times.

Packaging
ASE recently posted its results and provided an outlook. “Entering the third quarter, our factories are generally already running at or near full capacity,” said Ken Hsiang, head of investor relations for ASE. “For the third quarter, outside the impact of geopolitical disruption, we see the communications market picking up—driven by strength in 5G. And, to the contrary of what many market research firms are concluding for the logic semiconductor market, we are seeing strong business growth. It is necessary to point out that we do not just service traditional semiconductors. In fact, one of our fastest growing segments is our SIP business which creates systems and subsystems, not captured within the semiconductor market. Our products enable our customers to add new features to their products such as with current generation products, enabling millimeterwave 5G technology. We believe that our SIP business will continue to pick up momentum in the back half of the year.”

EDA
SEMI, Cadence, Mentor, a Siemens Business, and Synopsys announced plans to jointly develop an industry-standard protocol to combat electronic design automation (EDA) software piracy, a growing and costly problem for software vendors and their users. Under the partnership, the organizations will develop the SEMI Server Certification Protocol, a standard that will provide strong protection against piracy by defining how servers can be uniquely identified.

Market research
Advanced TV revenues are forecast to grow by a 5% growth rate from 2019 to 2025 to $22 billion, according to DSCC. DSCC defines an advanced TV as any TV with an advanced display technology feature, including all OLED TVs, 8K LCD TVs and all LCD TVs with quantum dot technology.

Worldwide revenues for the artificial intelligence (AI) market, including software, hardware, and services, are expected to total $156.5 billion in 2020, an increase of 12.3% over 2019, according to IDC. A new forecast shows worldwide revenues surpassing $300 billion in 2024 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.1%.

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Widespread home-based working will result in the elimination of billions of commuter journeys and a decline in office-based working environments of 22%, according to a new study by Strategy Analytics. The analysis is based on the emergence of four new employee groups in the post-pandemic employment landscape:
*City Escapees. This group accounts for 24% of workers: “they love working from home (WFH) and half want to continue forever,” according to the firm
*Family Jugglers. This group “accounts for 30% of workers and are less keen on WFH,” according to the firm.
*Struggling Commuters. This group “accounts for 37% and are lower income employees in retailing, health and manufacturing who are unlikely to WFH in future,” they said.
*Teleworking Lifers have always been WFH and account for 9% of workers, they added.

“Employees have spoken – the ball is now in employers’ court,” says David Mercer, an analyst at the firm. “During the pandemic people have enjoyed not commuting more than any other aspect of working from home; many would be delighted to continue if their employer allowed it.”

Conferences/Webinars
Meanwhile, the rush of online conferences and webinars continues unabated. Here are some upcoming ones:



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