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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Tariffs; finFETs, SOI; JCET’s new CEO; DRAM crash?

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Tariffs
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a step in its ongoing efforts to remove regulatory barriers that inhibit the deployment of infrastructure necessary for 5G and other advanced wireless services in the U.S.

“5G networks in America are key for powering the next generation of innovation, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and smart cities. (The FCC’s) vote to streamline small cell deployment helps our nation in the global race for 5G leadership,” said Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs at the U.S.-based Consumer Technology Association (CTA). “At the same time, the White House’s latest round of tariffs will throttle the U.S. rollout of 5G technologies. Tariff-driven cost increases are a tax on 5G that will dramatically slow infrastructure deployment. Increasing U.S. 5G equipment costs actually helps China in an area where the U.S. should be leading the world.”

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EnergySage, an online comparison-shopping marketplace for rooftop solar, community solar, and financing, has released its latest semiannual Solar Marketplace Intel Report.

Following the U.S. International Trade Commission’s finding of injury to American solar panel manufacturers in September of 2017, EnergySage saw the cost of residential solar spike in the market. Prices have seen some decline, but it’s slower than expected. The result is that the cost of a solar installation is now 5.6% higher. For the average customer, this amounts to paying an additional $0.16 per watt more than they should have, or $960 for a standard 6-kilowatt solar panel system, according to the firm. The tariff created a $236.5 million tax imposed on American consumers.

Chipmakers
GlobalFoundries plans to introduce new features for its 14nm/12nm finFET offerings. The company will add the following features: ultra-high density, increased performance, RF/analog, and embedded memory. “By introducing these new features to our finFET offering we are delivering powerful technology enhancements that will enable clients to extend performance and create innovative products for the next generation of intelligent systems,” said Bami Bastani, senior vice president of business units at GF.

Imagination Technologies and GlobalFoundries have announced a joint collaboration to provide ultra-low-power baseband and radio-frequency (RF) solutions for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and IEEE 802.15.4 technology. This involves using Imagination’s Ensigma connectivity IP on GF’s 22nm FD-SOI platform. In addition, Imagination has joined GF’s FDXcelerator Partner Program.

Separately, GlobalFoundries has announced that its 300mm RF SOI technology is ramping up. The company’s 8SW 300mm RF SOI technology platform has been qualified. The technology is geared for LTE as well as the sub-6GHz standards for front-end module applications, including 5G IoT, mobile devices and wireless communications.

Flex Logix has announced that its EFLX 4KLogic and DSP eFPGA IP cores are now in design for the 14nm process in GlobalFoundries’ wafer fab facility in Malta, N.Y. Boeing is the first company to license the EFLX4K eFPGA cores on GF’s 14nm foundry process, which will also be available for commercial applications.

Atomera has announced that Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) has signed an integration license with Atomera’s MST technology for use in consumer, automotive and industrial semiconductor applications. The license agreement provides rights for AKM to integrate Atomera’s technology into their devices. Atomera’s Mears Silicon Technology (MST) is an ultra-thin film of re-engineered material in a device. For CMOS applications, MST involves the deposition of partial monolayers of oxygen during epitaxy on a thin single crystal silicon layer. The engineered silicon lattice has electrical properties which address several key device engineering challenges, such as cost and lower power consumption.

MRAM developer Spin Transfer Technologies has announced that John Kispert, former chief executive of Spansion, has been elected as the company’s new chairman. He replaces Jill Smith, chief executive of Allied Minds, who will remain as a member of the board.

Packaging
STATS ChipPAC has announced that the board of its holding company, Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology (JCET), has appointed Lee Choon Heung as chief executive for the JCET Group, as well as CEO and chairman for STATS ChipPAC. Previously, he was the vice president for advanced packaging at Lam Research from 2016 to 2018. Lee served in several senior management positions at Amkor Technology, including head of their R&D center, head of global procurement, group vice president, senior vice president and chief technology officer.

Market research
China’s total share of the 2018 pure-play foundry market is expected to jump by five percentage points to 19%, exceeding the share held by the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, according to IC Insights. Overall, China is forecast to be responsible for 90% of the $4.2 billion increase in the total pure-play foundry market in 2018, according to the firm.

IC Insights updated its forecast of sales growth for 33 major IC product categories. “IC Insights now projects that seven product categories will exceed the 16% growth rate expected from the total IC market this year,” according to the firm. “For the second consecutive year, the DRAM market is forecast to top all IC product segments with 39% growth.”

Is a DRAM crash coming? DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, expects that the quotations of DRAM products will decline by 5% in the fourth quarter, higher than the previous forecast of 1~3%. The weak quotations are mainly due to increasing bit supply and limited growth in demand. “DRAM products have begun to see a weak price trend since 3Q18 after the price growth of nine consecutive quarters,” said Avril Wu, senior research director of DRAMeXchange.

Events
The 2018 IEEE S3S Conference will take place on Oct. 15-18 in Burlingame, Calif. The topics include 3D integration, low-power circuits, and SOI technology.



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