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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Intel’s Ohio fabs; India wants fabs; high-NA EUV; IC shortages.

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Fabs
Intel has announced plans for an initial investment of more than $20 billion in the construction of two new leading-edge fabs in Ohio. Planning for the first two factories will start immediately, with construction expected to begin late in 2022. Production is expected to come online in 2025. As part of the announcement, Air Products, Applied Materials, Lam Research and Ultra Clean Technology have indicated plans to establish a physical presence in the region to support the buildout of the site, with more companies expected in the future.

For years, India has tried to develop its own semiconductor industry. All of those efforts have failed. Now, India is trying again. The nation has approved a new program to attract multinational semiconductor and display vendors. India hopes vendors will build fabs in the nation. The effort is called the “Program for Development of Semiconductors and Display Manufacturing Ecosystem.” It has an outlay of INR 760 billion (>US$10 billion). Here’s more on the topic.

Fab tools
The high-NA EUV era has officially begun. As expected, Intel has ordered ASML’s next-generation high-NA extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography scanner. Intel hopes to put the system into production by 2025. The cost for the tool is over 300 million euros or US$395.7 million.

Intel isn’t the only high-NA EUV customer. “I believe ASML has 5 total orders for high-NA exiting 2021, including the one booked in 4Q21. So TSM is probably in (there),” said Krish Sankar, an analyst at Cowen.

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In a related matter, ASML posted its results for the quarter. “ASML December quarter sales were in line with consensus,” Sankar said in a research note. “ASML’s March quarter outlook was below consensus, but the FY22 seems to be fine.”

EUV shipments remain strong. “The output remains at 55 this year with the potential for capacity to be above 60 in 2023,” Sankar said. Recently, ASML experienced a fire in a factory in Berlin, which makes components for its EUV scanners. ASML expects 2022 net sales to grow around 20% compared to 2021. “The expected impact of the fire in part of a building at our Berlin site is included in this. Based on our current insights, we believe we can manage the consequences of this fire without significant impact on our system output for 2022,” according to ASML.

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Bruker has announced the acquisition of Prolab Instruments GmbH, a Swiss technology company specialized in low-flow, high precision liquid chromatography technology and systems.

In a blog, Coventor, a Lam Research Company, talks about using MEMS seismometers to monitor earthquakes. “Unfortunately, delays can occur between the characterization and detection of a seismic event due to a sparse (or limited) seismic sensor network. One approach to resolve this problem is to supplement traditional sensor networks with MEMS-based seismic sensors. MEMS sensors are small, inexpensive, and suitable for local monitoring, and could be deployed to increase seismic monitoring capabilities,” said Sandra Liu from Coventor.

Mike Rosa, formerly chief marketing officer for the ICAPS & Advanced Packaging groups at Applied Materials, has been named chief marketing officer and senior vice president of strategy at Onto Innovation.

Soitec has named Pierre Barnabé to succeed Paul Boudre as group chief executive. Barnabé will join the company on May 1, and will work closely with Boudre until he assumes the CEO role after the annual shareholder meeting in July 2022. Barnabé joins Soitec from Atos, where he has served as senior executive vice president in charge of big data and cybersecurity.

Chipmakers and OEMs
Chip shortages continue to take their toll, especially in the automotive sector. For example, Toyota has reduced its car shipment forecast amid chip shortages. “Due to the impact of the continuing demand for semiconductors across all industries, we have adjusted our production plan by around 150,000 units globally,” according to the car giant. “As a result of the revision, the full-year production forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022 is expected to be lower than the previous forecast of 9 million units.”

Siemens Digital Industries Software has collaborated with UMC to develop process design kits (PDKs) for the foundry‘s 110nm and 180nm BCD technology platforms. The new PDKs for UMC are optimized for Siemens EDA’s Tanner custom design flow software, enabling innovative designs for a wide variety of integrated circuits used in automotive and power applications. Siemens’ custom IC design kits are built using its Tanner software, and are now available for UMC’s BCD processes.

Faraday Technology, an ASIC design service and IP provider, has received the certificate of ISO 26262 ASIL-D Ready from SGS-TÜV on its memory compilers, including SRAM and ROM, for UMC’s 55eFlash node. Faraday also offers GPIO fundamental elements compliant with ISO 26262 ASIL-D Ready at 55nm, MIPI PHY compliant with ASIL-B Ready at 40nm, and CAN controllers for all nodes.

Packaging and test
At the upcoming 2022 IPC APEX EXPO, CyberOptics will unveil the new Dual-Mode MRS sensor for the SE3000 SPI system. The new Dual-Mode MRS sensor for the SE3000 SPI system is designed for use in solder paste inspection applications, with one mode for high-speed inspection and another mode for high-resolution inspection. The SE3000 is ideal for measuring height, area, volume, registration and bridging, as well as detecting insufficient paste, excess height, smear, offset and more. The new sensor is an extension of the company’s Multi-Reflection Suppression sensor portfolio.

Chroma ATE has acquired Environmental Stress Systems, a supplier of thermal forcing systems. This technology enables Chroma to grow its expertise on temperature control in semiconductor test equipment. This in turn helps meet the testing requirements for wafers at extremely low and high temperatures.

A subsidiary of JCET was awarded the “Supplier of The Year” by Montage Technology for its manufacturing and technical service provided in 2021.

Market research
In terms of total chip sales in 2021, Samsung regained the top spot from Intel for the first time since 2018, with revenue increasing 31.6% in 2021, according to Gartner. Intel dropped to the No. 2 position with 0.5% growth in 2021, delivering the lowest growth rate among the top 25 vendors, according to Gartner.

The global supply chain system is under strain like never before and will continue well into 2022, according to a new report by IHS Markit. The report, entitled “The Great Supply Chain Disruption: Why it Continues in 2022,” looks at various market segments.



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