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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Intel expands; CMP merger; TEL’s etcher; chip forecasts.

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Chipmakers
Chip investments in Malaysia got a shot in the arm this week. First, Intel has announced plans to invest more than RM30 billion, or US$7 billion, within its Malaysian packaging and test facilities. The additional investment will help expand Intel Malaysia’s operations across Penang and Kulim. This new investment is expected to create over 4,000 Intel jobs as well as over 5,000 construction jobs for Malaysians. Click here for the announcement. (See press releases.)

Then, Rohm has announced plans to build a new production facility at its manufacturing subsidiary in Malaysia. The facility will help increase the production capacity of Rohm’s analog LSIs and transistors.

Tsinghua Unigroup has rejected a bailout bid by a consortium led by Beijing Jianguang Asset Management and Wise Road Capital, according to a report from Nikkei. Tsinghua Unigroup is close to moving into bankruptcy proceedings, according to recent reports from Nikkei and others. The group is the parent company of China’s YMTC, a 3D NAND supplier, and other chip ventures.

South Korea’s Magnachip is terminating its previously-announced definitive merger with China’s Wise Road Capital and its limited partners. This course of action resulted from the inability of the parties, despite months of effort, to obtain approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Vishay, a supplier of discrete semiconductors and passive electronic components, has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Barry Industries for $21 million. Barry Industries is a manufacturer of semiconductor packaging and components.

AmpliTech, a manufacturer of signal-processing components, has acquired Spectrum Semiconductor Materials, a specialty distributor of semiconductor components.

SEMIFIVE, a design solution provider, has acquired Hanatec, a provider of ASIC design services. Hanatec is an official Samsung Foundry Design Solution Partner (DSP). This acquisition combines Hanatec’s design, turnkey and platform services with SEMIFIVE’s SoC platform and ASIC capabilities.

Fab tools
In a major move, Entegris has announced a definitive agreement to acquire CMC Materials for approximately $6.5 billion. CMC is a major supplier of advanced materials, including chemical-mechanical-polishing (CMP) technology.

Separately, CMC Materials claims it won a legal victory in its U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) case against DuPont and several DuPont subsidiaries. The ITC issued a final determination that found that DuPont is unlawfully importing, selling, and marketing in the United States certain chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) slurries and components thereof that infringe a patent owned by CMC that is fundamental to advanced dielectric CMP slurries, according to CMC.

“Based on the Final Determination, the ITC issued an exclusion order and cease and desist orders prohibiting DuPont’s importation, marketing, and sale of infringing products and components thereof in the United States,” according to CMC.

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TEL has introduced the Tactras-UDEMAE, an etch system for 300mm power devices. Targeted for discrete power devices, Tactras-UDEMAE delivers uniform etch process of 300mm wafers. It enables the precise control of various conditions, including wafer temperature, reactor pressure, gas flow rate, and radio frequency.

KLA has set a goal to use 100% renewable electricity across its global operations by 2030. This goal formalizes the company’s commitment to support the transition to a clean energy economy by setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets and reporting climate-related information to stakeholders.

In a blog, Gerold Schröpfer, a technical director for Europe and for the MEMS business operations worldwide at Coventor, talks about using digital twins for MEMS development. Coventor is a Lam Research Company.

Packaging and test
Nepes has moved into production with its panel-level fan-out technology. Nepes’ fan-out technology is based on a 600mm x 600mm panel size. In the production line, Nepes is using Deca’s M-Series adaptive patterning technology.

Kulicke and Soffa (K&S) and i3 Microsystems are collaborating to develop lithography solutions for advanced packaging. This involves K&S’ new LITEQ 500A 355nm laser-powered projection stepper. With a numerical aperture of 0.128, the LITEQ 500A can expose ultra-fine pitch patterns with a 16µm depth of focus.

FormFactor has opened a new manufacturing facility in Livermore, Calif. The 90,000-square-foot facility provides the company with additional capacity to manufacture advanced wafer probe cards.

Market research
During the recent Semicon West press event, Ajit Manocha, president and CEO of SEMI, provided an outlook for the semiconductor, equipment and materials industries.

Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is on track to surge 34% in 2021, its strongest percentage gain since a 41% increase in 2017, according to IC Insights. “The $152.0 billion in outlays this year would represent a new record high annual amount of spending, surpassing the previous high mark of $113.1 billion set just last year,” according to the firm.



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