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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Apple’s packaging technology; fab education; test flows; CapEx.

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Chipmakers and OEMs
Apple has rolled out its most powerful processor, dubbed the M1 Ultra, a multi-die chip that incorporates the company’s new packaging technology. The M1 Ultra is incorporated in Apple’s new Mac Studio desktop. M1 Ultra features a 20-core CPU, a 64-core GPU, and a 32-core Neural Engine.

The M1 Ultra also features UltraFusion, Apple’s new packaging architecture. M1 Ultra connects or combines two of the company’s existing M1 Max chips to create one system-on-a-chip (SoC). In some respects, it’s a multi-chip module (MCM). M1 Max itself is based on TSMC’s 5nm process. In total, M1 Ultra consists of 114 billion transistors.

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There is a shortage of talent in the semiconductor industry, especially fab technicians. In response, Intel and Maricopa Community Colleges have announced that enrollment is now open for a new semiconductor manufacturing “Quick Start” program at Mesa Community College (MCC). The accelerated two-week program prepares students for a career as a semiconductor technician with hands-on learning from industry experienced Intel employees as instructors.

GlobalFoundries has announced GF Fotonix, a next-generation silicon photonics platform. GF also announced it is partnering with Cisco on a custom silicon photonics solution.

Analog Devices (ADI) will invest €100 million over the next three years in ADI Catalyst, a 100,000-square-foot facility at its campus in the Raheen Business Park in Limerick, Ireland. This latest phase of expansion will also see the creation of 250 new jobs. ADI Catalyst will focus on the development of software-enabled solutions and artificial intelligence (AI).

Fab tools and materials
II-VI Inc. is accelerating its investment in 150mm and 200mm silicon carbide (SiC) substrates and epitaxial wafer manufacturing with large-scale factory expansions in Easton, Penn. and Kista, Sweden. This is part of the company’s previously-announced $1 billion investment in SiC over the next 10 years.

The Canadian government has announced $90 million in funding for the National Research Council of Canada’s Canadian Photonics Fabrication Center (CPFC). The CPFC provides engineering and manufacturing services for a variety of materials, including gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium phosphide (InP), gallium nitride (GaN), and other substrates. It provides foundry services for photonic devices and GaN electronics.

TEL has won the “Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovators 2022” award. Clarivate uses a patent database to select the top 100 innovative companies/institutions.

Packaging and Test
In a blog, QP Technologies talks about MIL-STD-883. “MIL-STD-883 is the military testing standard that determines uniform procedures and methodologies for testing microelectronic devices,” according to QP. “It’s designed to identify devices suitable for use within military and aerospace electronic systems – i.e., those that can survive harsh natural environments and conditions.”

In a blog, PDF Solutions talks about semiconductor testing in the era of chip convergence. “The value of a large amount of semiconductor test data needs to be tapped and utilized, because it can not only improve test efficiency and ensure product yield, but it is also vital to optimizing test plans and controlling costs through data analysis,” according to the blog.

National policy
Canada has announced the Semiconductor Challenge Callout, a fund of $150 million designed to propel Canada’s domestic semiconductor and photonics industries.

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP) has partnered with Infineon in a strategic co-incubation program to fulfil the potential of up-and-coming startups in the microelectronics market.

Market research
Semiconductor capital spending is expected to soar 23% in 2022, surpassing the $180 billion mark, according to a report from TechInsights.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a critical turning point for Europe and the world. The information and communications technology (ICT) market has also been affected, according to IDC, which has released a report on the situation. “While IDC expects a steep decline and slow recovery for ICT spending in Russia and Ukraine, the global impact of this decline will be somewhat limited,” according to the research firm. “Combined the two countries only account for 5.5% of all ICT spending in Europe and 1% worldwide.”

Read more news at Design, Low Power and Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing.


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