Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Earnings season; IC industry growth; Indian fabs; high-NA EUV progress; Chinese lockdowns.


It’s earnings season, and despite widespread reports of capacity issues and shortages, the chip industry turned in relatively solid results across the board.

Intel exceeded January guidance for Q1, reporting first-quarter GAAP revenue of $18.4 billion, a 7% year-over-year decrease, and a 1% decrease year-over-year on non-GAAP basis. Record revenue was achieved in the Network and Edge Group, Mobileye, and Intel Foundry Services businesses. The company expects 2022 full year revenue will hit $76B, including 52% gross margins, with softening expected in Q2 due to slower PC sales, the Ukraine war, and broader economic factors.

KLA’s revenue for the quarter-ending March 31 was $2.29 billion, a 27% increase year-over-year. The results were within prior guidance ranges. KLA’s Patterning and Specialty Semi Process (systems only) product lines grew 53% and 38%, respectively.

Renesas reported first results for the quarter ending March 31, with revenue of 346.7 billion yen (~$2.65B), a 70% year-over-year increase.

UMC’s revenue grew 34.7% year over year to NT 63.42 billion (~$2.15B), a 7% quarter-over-quarter increase. Capacity utilization rate was 100%+, with 20% of the company’s revenue coming from the 22 and 28nm nodes.

Teradyne reported revenue $755 million for Q1 2022, in line with its January outlook.

CyberOptics reported Q1 22 sales of $24.2 million, a 37% year-over-year increase. “Each of our product groups — 3D and 2D sensors, semiconductor products and inspection/metrology systems — posted strong, double-digit sales growth in the first quarter of 2022,” said Subodh Kulkarni, president and CEO.

Advantest reported FY2021 (period ending 3/31/22) net sales of 416,901 million yen, a 33% increase from FY2020.

Industry Growth
Gartner forecasts 2022 global semiconductor revenue at US $676.0 billion, an increase of 13.6% from 2021 revenue of US $595.0 billion. “Although unit production of automotive vehicles will grow below expectation at 12.5% in 2022, semiconductor device ASPs are expected to remain high due to continued tight supply driving the automotive semiconductor market to double-digit growth (19%) in 2022,” said Alan Priestley, research vice president at Gartner. “Automotive HPC, EV/HEV, and advanced driver assistance systems will lead the growth in automotive electronics sectors through the forecast period.”

According to IC Insights’ latest update on market share of the major semi suppliers (excluding pure-play foundries), the top 10 companies represent 57% of the global market share, compared to 48% in 2010.

Global semiconductor manufacturing equipment billings exceeded $102 billion last year, an increase of 44% over the prior year, according to SEMI. The large increase was driven by advanced logic and foundry capacity builds, DRAM investment recovery and NAND Flash spending. Regionally, China, Korea and Taiwan topped the list. Wafer fab equipment was up 43%, test equipment up 30%, and assembly and packaging up 87%.

New construction and capacity
The race is on in India. After nearly two decades of talk about building chips in India, there are signs it may finally happen. Vedanta, a global natural resources conglomerate, is looking for land and other incentives in India to break into semiconductor and display manufacturing. IGSS Ventures and ISMC also have submitted proposals, and Intel, GlobalFoundries, and TSMC also are in talks. These proposals will be a hot topic at Semicon India 2022, scheduled for April 29 through May 1 in Bengaluru, with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi presenting.

Lam Research unwrapped its new Korea Technology Center, a 30,000 square meter complex with a state-of-the-art cleanroom.

60% of SMIC workers in Shanghai are camped out in the factory, amid a city-wide Covid-19 lockdown, under a “closed loop” with no direct contact with the world.

Meanwhile, Apple supplier Foxconn has suspended operations in Kushan (near Shanghai) due to an onsite Covid-19 outbreak.

New Tech
Singapore’s Quantum Engineering Programme (QEP) and Keysight Technologies are collaborating on quantum technologies and research, particularly on the development of quantum instrument packages.

At this week’s SPIE Advanced Lithography & Patterning Conference, Imec reported big progress in the development of its high-NA EUV patterning ecosystem for the Imec-ASML Joint High-NA Lab. “Imec is partnering with ASML on High-NA technology as ASML is building its first prototype 0.55NA EUV lithography scanner EXE:5000,” said CEO Luc Van den hove. “High-NA EUV lithography is projected to print the most critical features needed for beyond 2nm logic chips, with fewer patterning steps compared to current 0.33NA EUV lithography. It is our role, in tight collaboration with the global patterning ecosystem, to ensure timely availability of advanced resist materials, photomasks, metrology techniques, (anamorphic) imaging strategies, and patterning techniques – to fully benefit from the resolution gain offered by the High-NA EUV lithography scanner. “

Deals and products
DENSO Corp. and UMC subsidiary USJC are collaborating on an IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor) production line at USJC’s 300mm fab. This power semiconductor partnership addresses the growing demand in the automotive market due to increased electrification of cars.

Horizon Robotics selected PDF Solution’s Exensio data management and advanced yield analytics platform to “monitor & screen their devices for automotive-grade quality.”

Advantest uncorked its Adaptive Probe Cleaning solution (APC) for probe tip cleaning, utilizing AI algorithms to assess state of cleanliness when yields are impacted.

Synopsys’s SiliconDash big data analytics solution for fabless companies is utilizing Advantest’s new ACS Nexus solution, a real-time data streaming infrastructure that enables access to aggregated data streams of multiple test cells through a central, standardized software interface available on-premise.

Keysight Technologies enabled the Global Certification (GCF) to “activate a certification test plan that validates compliance to specifications defined by the global standards organization 3GPP, covering radio frequency (RF) performance and protocol validation of 5G new radio (NR) mmWave devices operating in standalone (SA) mode.”

The Laser Industry Award for Excellent Product was awarded to Advantest for its Terahertz Spectroscopic/Imaging System using two femtosecond fiber lasers developed in-house to generate and detect terahertz waves.

Micron Technology has been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit by Bell Semiconductor, contending Micron lacked authorization to use Bell’s “layering process for fabricating semiconductor devices.”

Last week’s Manufacturing, Packaging and Materials newsletter can be found here, with three new additions this week:
Chip Industry Heads Toward $1T
Paving The Way To Chiplets
Using GPUs In Semiconductor Manufacturing

Semiconductor Engineering’s April Test, Measurement and Analytics Newsletter can be found here. Find our email newsletter signup page here.

Technical Papers
Find recent additions to Semiconductor Engineering’s technical paper library here, including:

“The Magnetic Genome of Two-Dimensional van der Waals Materials.”
• “3D structural design and tuning of the electrical conduction of a pyrolyzed CNP semiconductor.”
• “Stress Tensor Mesostructures For Deterministic Figuring Of Thin Substrates

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