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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

GF’s China fab strategy; UMC’s results; KLA’s new R&D site.

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Chipmakers
GlobalFoundries and the Chengdu municipality have signed an amendment and changed the strategy of their joint fab investment in Chengdu, China.

Originally, GlobalFoundries was supposed to install 180nm/130nm processes in the China-based 300mm fab. The partners have decided to bypass that technology. Intead, the fab will start with GlobalFoundries’ 22nm FD-SOI process.

“China, as one of the largest and fastest growing semiconductor markets around the globe, is a high priority for GF,” said GF CEO Tom Caulfield. “FDX technology is particularly well-suited to the China market and we continue to see strong potential for its up-take in attractive segments such as 5G, IoT and edge computing. We’ll be working with Chengdu to deepen our collaboration to jointly accelerate the FDX ecosystem and customer base in China.”

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United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) posted its results for the third quarter. Third quarter consolidated revenue was up 1.4%. “In the third quarter, foundry revenue reached a record high of NT$39.33 billion, up 1.4% from 2Q18. Utilization rate reached 94%, bringing wafer shipments to 1.8 million 8-inch equivalent wafers. Loading across 8-inch and mature 12-inch technologies continued to operate at full capacity. In addition, we saw an increase in computing related applications, which offset the decline in the communication segment,” said Jason Wang, co-president of UMC.

China’s Wingtech Technology plans to acquire control of IC maker Nexperia from its previous investors for $3.63 billion, according to a report from Reuters.

Broadcom is facing antitrust scrutiny from the European Union, according to a report from Bloomberg. The EU claims that Broadcom is pressuring customers to buy its semiconductors.

TowerJazz is increasing its technology portfolio that is compliant with ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) by adding 65nm technology access for next-generation ROICs (readout integrated circuits), enabling military and space applications critical to national defense. ROICs are used for reading infrared and ultraviolet detectors in military surveillance and other applications ranging from x-ray astronomy to security and industrial inspection.

Cypress Semiconductor has entered into a joint venture with SK Hynix. Under an agreement for an initial five-year period, the joint venture will manufacture and sell Cypress’ existing single-level cell (SLC) NAND products and will continue to invest in next-generation NAND products.

Fab tools and test
National Instruments has released its NI Trend Watch 2019 report. The report examines crucial engineering trends and challenges of the changing technology landscape, including the Internet of Things (IoT), the progression of 5G technology from prototyping to commercial deployment and autonomous driving for the masses.

National Instruments announced that Eric Starkloff has been appointed president and chief operating officer. Starkloff joined National Instruments in 1997 and has been serving as executive vice president of global sales and marketing since 2014.

With support from Ann Arbor SPARK and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., KLA-Tencor is establishing a research and development facility in Ann Arbor. This new office for the global firm is expected to result in $70 million in investment in the region and the creation of up to 500 jobs.

Michael Stewart, an investment Principal at Applied Ventures, provides his takeaways from the recent AI Hardware Summit where he participated as a panelist.

In a video, Jan Willis, co-founder of the eBeam Initiative, sits down and talks to Ajay Baranwal, director for the new Center for Deep Learning in Electronics Manufacturing (CDLe).

Imec and ASML have extended their collaboration in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. They will explore the potential of the next-generation high-NA EUV lithography for the 3nm node. To this end, they will establish a joint high-NA EUV research lab.

The merger of equals between Praxair and Linde have been satisfied after the European Commission approved the buyer of Praxair’s divestment business in Europe and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provided merger clearance of the business combination in the United States. The parties expect the transaction to close on October 31. Neither Linde nor Praxair will integrate any of their commercial operations until certain U.S.-based assets are divested.

Entegris reported its financial results. Third-quarter sales were $398.6 million, an increase of 15% from the same quarter last year and a 4% increase sequentially.

Market research
With growth of smartphones over the past decade, foundry sales to the communications market have soared and are now forecast to account for about 3x more than IC foundry sales to the computer market in 2018, according to IC Insights.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $2.09 billion in billings worldwide in September 2018, according to SEMI. The billings figure is 6.5% lower than the final August 2018 level of $2.37 billion, and is 1.8% higher than the September 2017 billings level of $2.05 billion. “Quarterly global billings of North American equipment suppliers experienced their typical seasonal weakening in the most recent quarter,” said Ajit Manocha, president and CEO of SEMI. “Relative to the third quarter, we expect investment activity to improve for the remainder of the year.”

Calendar
An event called “Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Edge” will take place at SEMI’s headquarters on Oct. 26.

The MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress—MSEC 2018 will take place in Napa on Oct. 28.

The Electronic System Design Alliance, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, announced the inaugural ES Design West will be co-located with SEMICON West 2019. ARM, Cadence, CAST, IC Manage, Mentor, a Siemens Business, and Synopsys signed on as initial exhibitors. By co-locating ES Design West with SEMICON West at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, July 9-11, 2019, SEMI brings together the complete electronics supply chain, from design through manufacturing to finished product.



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