Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

PDF buys Cimetrix; maskless litho; OSAT ranking; TSMC fab.


Fab tools
PDF Solutions has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cimetrix. Under the terms, PDF will pay a cash amount of $35.0 million, net of cash on Cimetrix’s balance sheet as of closing, and subject to other closing adjustments.

With the move, PDF will expand into new markets. Cimetrix is a provider of equipment connectivity products for smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0. Cimetrix products are used by over 150 capital equipment companies to provide factory automation connectivity for hundreds of equipment types. The combination of Cimetrix’ products with PDF’s analytics platform is intended to enable IC, assembly, and electronics manufacturer customers to extract more intelligence from their factory floor to build more reliable ICs and systems at lower manufacturing costs.


SkyWater Technology plans to deploy Multibeam’s Multicolumn Electron-Beam Lithography (MEBL) system into its newly expanded foundry fabrication facility. The MEBL system, set to launch in 2021, will be capable of full-wafer maskless patterning at 45nm and beyond. “MEBL’s deployment will benefit all of our customers, both government and commercial. Further, this key capability will support SkyWater’s pursuit of a unique foundry offering by combining the flexibility and agility of 200mm manufacturing with the advanced performance of 45nm process technology,” said Thomas Sonderman, president and CEO of SkyWater.

Coventor, a Lam Research Company, and CMC Microsystems, manager of Canada’s National Design Network (CNDN), have announced an expanded technology collaboration. CMC Microsystems will offer Coventor’s SEMulator3D process modeling software to CNDN participants, adding to the existing availability of the CoventorMP MEMS Design Platform.

TEL has been selected for inclusion in the “Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific Index” (DJSI Asia Pacific) for the fifth straight year. The DJSI Asia Pacific is a renowned stock index for ESG investing.

Synopsys has acquired Light Tec, a provider of optical scattering measurements and measurement equipment. The combination of Synopsys’ optical design software tools with Light Tec’s solutions expands customer access to light scattering data for materials and media used in optical systems.

Entegris has agreed to settle patent litigation and disputes with Gudeng Precision related to reticle pod technology for both conventional and EUV lithography.

Packaging and test
TrendForce has released its OSAT rankings in terms of sales for the second quarter. ASE remains in first place, followed by Amkor and JCET. Among the three Chinese OSATs (JCET, TFME, and Hua Tian), TFME was the only company to improve its revenue year-over-year.

ASE has been included in the 2020 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) World and Emerging Market segments. This is the fifth year in a row that the company has been named the Industry leader in the “Semiconductors and Semiconductor Equipment Industry Group.”

ACM Research has entered into the TSV copper plating market with a new system. ACM recently delivered its first tool to a customer in China to begin formal qualification for its 3D TSV and 2.5D interposer copper plating applications.

NI, SET GmbH, and Tech180 have announced a strategic collaboration for the design, development, and maintenance of test systems. The companies will deliver various approaches to test systems, including new products, hardware and software frameworks, open systems reference architecture, and a system-on-demand methodology. Separately, Electro Rent and NI have announced a new partnership. Electro Rent will rent NI’s test and measurement solutions to customers through its network, starting in North America.

Chipmakers and OEMs
Here’s the latest from Reuters: “Tsinghua Unigroup, a major government-backed player in China’s technology race, has defaulted on a 1.3-billion-yuan ($197.96 million) bond, three sources said, as several high-profile delinquencies by state firms rattled the country’s bond market.”

After being cut off from its chip supply, Huawei has sold its Honor smartphone business assets to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology. “Since its creation in 2013, the Honor brand has focused on the youth market by offering phones in the low- to mid-end price range. During these past seven years, Honor has developed into a smartphone brand that ships over 70 million units annually,” according to Huawei.

The city of Phoenix has approved various financial incentives and government support for TSMC’s fab in Arizona, according to a report from Bloomberg. Click here and look for the incentives on page 89.

UMC has announced that Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) has selected the foundry company as a global component for the 13th consecutive year. UMC’s performance surged in the environmental category.

The top executive from Wuhan Hongxin Semiconductor Manufacturing (HSMC) has resigned following the collapse of the Chinese foundry vendor, according to a report from Nikkei.

Ferroelectric Memory (FMC), a developer of ferroelectric hafnium oxide technology, has completed a $20 million Series B funding. The round of financing was led by the new investors M Ventures and Imec, with participation of SK Hynix, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, and TEL Venture Capital.

Marvell has unveiled the industry’s first 112G 5nm SerDes solution. Based on a 5nm process from TSMC, Marvell’s 5nm SerDes solution doubles the bandwidth of current systems based on 56G.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has named Bob Bruggeworth, president and CEO of Qorvo as its 2021 chair and Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, as its 2021 vice chair.

Market research
North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $2.64 billion in billings worldwide in October 2020, according to SEMI. The billings figure is 3.7% lower than the final September 2020 level of $2.74 billion, and is 26.9% higher than the October 2019 billings level of $2.08 billion. “Following the record-breaking September results, billings of North America-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers continue to show strong results in October,” said Ajit Manocha, SEMI president and CEO. “The coming months should reaffirm the positive momentum as industry leaders are issuing guidance for a strong fourth quarter despite continuing trade tensions and the intensifying pandemic.”

IC capacity for leading-edge (<10nm) processes is expected to grow and become the largest portion of monthly installed capacity across the industry beginning in 2024, according to IC Insights. “At the end of 2020, <10nm capacity is expected to account for 10% of the IC industry’s total wafer capacity, and then is forecast to rise above 20% for the first time in 2022, and increase to 30% of worldwide capacity in 2024,” according to the company.

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