Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

AMD to buy Pensando; 32% sales increase; $1 trillion industry; Spain/India’s semi expands; IBM’s next-gen mainframe; New semiconductor alliance.


AMD plans to purchase cloud startup Pensando for about US $1.9 billion. In a presentation at the SEMI ISS conference this week, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster described Pensando’s technology as a “highly programmable packet-processing engine that allows you to speed up systems designed for the data center.”

Intel, Micron, Analog Devices and MITRE Engenuity formed an alliance to accelerate chip industry R&D and promote advanced manufacturing in the U.S. “The semiconductor industry in the U.S. is at an inflection point. There has never been a more important time to come together as an industry to establish the path forward to advance the foundation of innovation that will help solve the nation’s biggest challenges. The Semiconductor Alliance is an open collaboration that will leverage current and future R&D investments by industry and government throughout the U.S. and will support the spirit of the CHIPS for America Act to re-establish American industry leadership,” said Ann Kelleher, executive vice president and general manager of technology development at Intel.

Synopsys and Juniper Networks partnered up to create a new company that will offer “laser-on-a-chip”, an open silicon photonics platform for applications such as telecom, datacom, lidar, healthcare, HPC, AI, and optical computing.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported global industry sales in February increased 32.4% year-over-year and 3.4% month-over-month. “Sales into the Americas continued to outpace other regional markets, increasing by 43.2% year-to-year in February,” said John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO.

Economists from KPMG and Omdia painted a mixed picture for the semiconductor industry at this week’s ISS conference. Additional highlights of the conference can be found here.

With an estimated growth rate of 6% to 8% per year through 2030, McKinsey & Company predicts the industry could reach $1 trillion by end of the decade. “About 70% of growth is predicted to be driven by just three industries: automotive, computation and data storage, and wireless,” according to the report.

Fig. 1: The road to $1T. Source: McKinsey & Co.

World news
Spain plans to invest €11 billion (~US $12 billion) in microchips and semiconductors Chips are essential for Spain’s auto industry, as the country is the second largest motor vehicle producer in Europe.

India formed an advisory committee for Semicon India. The goal is to further manufacturing, design and innovation in the country. The advisory panel includes venture capitalist Vinod Dham (“father” of Intel’s Pentium Chip), SEMI CEO Ajit Manocha, Arogyaswami Paulraj (MIMO pioneer), and others.

Furthering its US $10B investment targeting semiconductor & display manufacturing, India reportedly reached out to Samsung Electronics to boost the country’s semiconductor production.

3M announced an additional investment of €150 million for remedial actions on its Belgium-based semiconductor coolant plant, which has been under scrutiny for violating environmental regulations. Belgium cited health concerns involving per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that were used in legacy manufacturing and disposal.

TEL announced a new development building in Kyushu, Japan, for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, including coater/developers and surface preparation systems. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024.

Kioxia commenced construction on its start-of-the art flash memory “Fab2” in Iwate Prefecture, Japan.

The European Commission proposed new sanctions against Russia, which includes export bans of quantum computers and advanced semiconductors.

Intel, meanwhile, has suspended all operations in Russia.

IBM announced its next-generation mainframe, IBMz16, containing the new 7nm Telum chip that “facilitates on-device AI inferencing that is 20 times faster than sending an AI request to an x86 server in the cloud,” according to IBM’s news release. The new system also features quantum-safe cryptography.

Intel announced additional details for its upcoming Blockscale ASIC, which will operate up to 580 GH/s hash rate operating and up to 26 J/TH power efficiency. Argo Blockchain, Block Inc., Hive Blockchain Technologies and GRIID Infrastructure will be the first customers to incorporate.

KLA launched Frontline Cloud Services, a software solution that accelerates design-for-manufacturability (DFM) analysis and time-to-market (TTM) for complex printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Advantest introduced a new 3D image viewer for the Euclid, for its Hadatomo series of photoacoustic microscopes.

Siemens reported success with the SaaS business, exceeding $200M in cloud annual recurring revenue as of the end of Q1 FY2022. Saildrone, maker and operator of a fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) has adopted Siemens Xcelerator portfolio.

Intel announced its 2022 EPIC Outstanding Supplier Award, which included Lam Research, TEL, and others. Distinguished Supplier Award recipients were also named, including Brewer Science, Keysight Technologies, Synopsys, and others.

TEL also was named among the top 500 companies 2022 Certified Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organizations Recognition Program, which is held jointly by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Nippon Kenko Kaigi.

Upcoming events: SPIE’s Advanced Lithography & Patterning (April 24-28 in San Jose, CA), and Photomask Japan is happening April 26-28th (fully online). The Critical Materials Conference (April 27-29 in Chandler, AZ), and the Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference (May 2-5 in Saratoga Springs, NY). Find more chip industry events here.

Industry experts from proteanTecs, Hitachi, Uhnder and others will be participating in a panel discussion on the “ Changing Landscape of Automotive Electronics on April 12 at 9:00 am (PST).

Technical Papers
New technical papers added to Semiconductor Engineering’s library this week:

• Using honey to make memristors, in Memristive Synaptic Device Based On A Natural Organic Material—Honey For Spiking Neural Network In Biodegradable Neuromorphic Systems (Washington State University).

Direct Chemisorption-Assisted Nanotransfer Printing With Wafer-Scale Uniformity And Controllability (NTU, KIMM).

Review Of Essential Use Of Fluorochemicals In Lithographic Patterning And Semiconductor Processing (Cornell).

The tech industry is dealing with high resignation rates, as described in SEMI’s Michelle Williams-Vaden blog. Semiconductor Engineering hosts a jobs board and employers looking for engineers in the chip industry can post openings here for free for a limited time (subject to approval).

Latest Newsletters
In case you missed it, here’s Semiconductor Engineering’s latest Manufacturing, Packaging, & Materials newsletter and the Test, Measurement & Analytics newsletter.

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