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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Foxconn’s IC expansion; hot chip products; capacitor shortages; earnings.

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Chipmakers
Taiwan’s Foxconn continues to expand its efforts in the semiconductor business. Foxconn has acquired a 6-inch wafer fab and the equipment from Taiwan’s Macronix for NT$2.52 billion (US$90.76 million). With the fab, Foxconn plans to enter the wideband gap semiconductor market, namely silicon carbide (SiC). SiC devices are used in electric vehicles, a market that Foxconn is making several major investments in. Recently, the contract manufacturing giant and Yageo formed a chip venture in Taiwan.

SMIC posted its results and raised its forecast for the year. The company still faces some challenges amid export control restrictions for the company. Meanwhile, Taiwan foundry vendor Vanguard International Semiconductor sees strong demand, “mainly due to price hikes amid a persistent imbalance between supply and demand,” according to the Taipei Times.

There is a bidding war for Veoneer, a supplier of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) hardware and software. In July, Magna announced plans to acquire Veoneer for $3.8 billion. This week, Qualcomm has submitted an offer to acquire Veoneer. That deal is worth $4.6 billion.

Marvell Technology has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Innovium, a provider of networking solutions for cloud and edge data centers. The deal is worth $1.1 billion.

Transphorm, a supplier gallium-nitride (GaN) devices, has reworked the ownership of its fab venture.

Arlington Capital Partners, a private equity firm, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire L3Harris Technologies’ Electron Devices and Narda Microwave-West divisions. These entities develop RF amplification products for the space, electronic warfare, radar, medical and industrial markets.

Fab tools
In a blog, Michael Hargrove, a member of the semiconductor process and integration team at Coventor, a Lam Research Company, talks about next-generation transistors beyond finFETs.

Onto Innovation has posted quarterly revenue of $193 million, a 43% jump year-over-year and up 14% over the previous period. “We see revenue growth continuing into the fourth quarter and extending into the first quarter of 2022, driven by expansions and node transitions in logic and memory as well as the rapidly growing investments in packaging and RF process technology,” said Michael Plisinski, chief executive of Onto Innovation.

Bruker’s revenues for the second quarter of 2021 were $570.8 million, an increase of 34.4% compared to the second quarter of 2020. “Bruker’s revenues, margins and earnings grew strongly in the first half of 2021, as markets rebounded and demand for our high-performance scientific instruments, life science research and diagnostic solutions accelerated,” said Frank Laukien, president and CEO of Bruker. Bruker is raising its fiscal year 2021 guidance for revenue growth, non-GAAP operating margin expansion and non-GAAP EPS.

KLA has launched its Global Impact Report, which involves the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities and data for 2019 and 2020. The report involves topics such as inclusion and diversity, community initiatives, climate and energy, water use, talent development and ethics and compliance.

Noritaka Yokomori, vice president and general manager at TEL, has been named chairman and board member of TEL Manufacturing and Engineering of America.

Test
Advantest’s Virtual VOICE 2021 Developer Conference attracted record attendance when it convened on June 21-23. Dave Armstrong of Advantest and Don Thompson of R&D Altanova won a Best Paper award for their presentation, “HSIO Loopback: The Challenges and Obstacles of Testing 112 Gbps.” Also receiving a Best Paper award were Jonvyn Wongso, Krishna Vangapalli and Daniel Marstein of Microchip Technology and Philip Brock and Louis Benton of Advantest for their presentation, “Automotive Keyless Entry System-on-Chip Test Methodologies and Techniques.”

OEMs
The BMW Group posted record figures for sales, earnings and net profit. Demand for the Group’s premium vehicles has remained strong, with continued good pricing. “Our performance has benefited from strong customer demand during the first half of the year, enabling us to achieve significant growth. However, in light of a number of prevailing risks, including raw materials prices and a shortage of semiconductors, the second six-month period is likely to be more volatile for the BMW Group,” said Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG.

Despite some unfavorable factors such as the semiconductor supply shortage and an increase in raw material costs, Honda saw an increase in sales and operating profit for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30.

GM posted mixed results for the quarter and outlined its efforts in the electric and autonomous vehicle markets.

Market research
IC Insights has released its rankings for the revenue growth rates for 33 IC product categories defined by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization. Robust growth rates are expected for nearly all IC products in 2021.

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There is a worldwide shortage of chips, especially at mature nodes. Capacitors are also in short supply. And the situation is getting worse. “Various governments in Southeast Asia have implemented nationwide or regional lockdowns as well as movement control orders in order to curb the spread of the pandemic. As such, MLCC (multilayer ceramic capacitor) suppliers including Taiyo Yuden, Murata, and Samsung, all of which have facilities located in Malaysia and the Philippines, are now confronted with an increasing risk of uncertainties regarding their production capacities and shipment schedules,” according to a report from TrendForce.

Looking ahead into the peak procurement period in the third quarter, TrendForce expects some equipment vendors will redirect their MLCC orders to Taiwanese suppliers such as Yageo and Walsin.

China is at risk, as well. “Home to 55% of the world’s MLCC production bases, China has seen a re-emergence of the pandemic in August in Nanjing and Zhangjiajie. It should be pointed out that Murata and Yageo operate major MLCC manufacturing facilities in Wuxi and Suzhou, which much like Nanjing are also located in the province of Jiangsu. Should the pandemic continue to worsen in China, the global supply of MLCC would undoubtedly sustain significant damage as a result,” according to TrendForce.



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