Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Intel aims to quadruple packaging capacity by 2025; Huawei building secret fabs; SiC power market heats up; India revs up space industry.


Intel aims to quadruple capacity for its most advanced chip packaging services by 2025, including with a new facility in Malaysia, per Nikkei Asia.

Huawei is building a collection of secret semiconductor fabrication facilities across China to let the company skirt U.S. sanctions, SIA warned in a presentation seen by Bloomberg. It’s acquired at least two existing plants and is building at least three others.

China is also stepping up incentives to attract tech talent, in light of U.S. export restrictions. The recruitment drive, reported in detail by Reuters, focuses on those with advanced degrees from top institutions, and offers perks, including home-purchase subsidies and typical signing bonuses of 3 to 5 million yuan, or $420,000 to $700,000.

India’s successful Chandrayaan-3 moon landing exemplifies the ambitions of its space industry, home to at least 140 registered space-tech start-ups. It’s one of India’s most sought-after sectors for venture capital investors, per the New York Times. Meanwhile, Intel is as bullish on India as India is on space, according to a feature in Business Today India.

Volkswagen is directly purchasing strategically important chips from 10 manufacturers, including NXP, Infineon, and Renesas. The carmaker began striking direct deals with chipmakers last October to ensure its supply was secure. VW and Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics announced plans last July to co-develop a new semiconductor.

Industry 4.0, otherwise known as smart manufacturing, has been a buzzword for years. A panel of experts discuss where we are today, how the chip industry is stacking up and how tools and AI can enable it for semiconductors.

TSMC management and U.S. workers continue their finger-pointing over the reasons for the Arizona plant delays.

Turning chiplets into a commercial opportunity is not easy.  Four industry experts discuss the path to commercialization, including what’s missing, what changes are underway, and why chiplets are increasingly necessary.

Synopsys has completed its acquisition of PikeTec GmbH, a leader in solutions for the testing and verification of automotive software for control unit systems.

SiC and GaN

Silicon carbide production is ramping quickly, driven by end market demand in automotive and price parity with silicon. Many thousands of power semiconductor modules are already in use in electric vehicles for on-board charging, traction inversion, and DC-to-DC conversion.

Macom will acquire Wolfspeed’s RF business, including a portfolio of GaN on SiC products used in high performance RF and microwave applications.  The acquisition includes a 100mm GaN wafer fabrication facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, as well as design teams and associated product development assets in Arizona, California and North Carolina, as well as back-end production capabilities in California and Malaysia, and over 1,400 patents.

The University of Arkansas broke ground on a national Multi-User Silicon Carbide Research and Fabrication Facility, or MUSiC. The 18,660 sq. ft. building is expected to open in 2025.

The power electronics market is growing at 8.1% annually and is expected to hit US$33 billion by 2028, up from US$21 billion In 2022, according to Yole Intelligence. Electric vehicles (EVs), DC charging infrastructure, and automotive applications are driving growth in the discrete market while the module market is being driven by EVs and renewable energy, including photovoltaics and wind.

Market Research

TECHCET forecasts revenues for silicon fabricated parts to decrease by 5% in 2023, reaching a total of US$856 million. This slowdown is due to overall downtrends within the semiconductor industry, alongside lower numbers of wafer starts. TECHCET is forecasting a sharp rebound of near 11% for the silicon parts market in 2024, as explained in the newly released Silicon Parts Critical Materials Report.

TrendForce reports that Taiwan-based server ODMs, including Quanta, Foxconn, Wistron (including Wiwynn), and Inventec, have set up production bases in Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia and other countries. They project that by 2023, the production capacity from these regions will account for 23%, approaching 50% by 2026.


Radha Plumb, the U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, will discuss defense acquisition with a focus on acquiring and integrating emerging technologies.

An AI-based brain-computer interface (BCI) gave a paralyzed woman her voice back in a UCSF collaboration. A Stanford team, working with an ALS patient, used another BCI setup to translate thoughts to text. Both projects are described in Nature.

In a paper titled “A 64-core mixed-signal in-memory compute chip based on phase-change memory for deep neural network inference,” IBM researchers demonstrated a state-of-the-art mixed-signal AI chip that promises to improve efficiency and incur less battery drain in AI projects.

Sandia National Laboratories has produced its first lot of a new ion trap, dubbed the Enchilada Trap, a central component for certain quantum computers. In addition to traps operated at Sandia, several traps will be used at Duke University for performing quantum algorithms.

A potentially game-changing theoretical approach to quantum computing hardware avoids much of the problematic complexity found in current quantum computers. “Natural systems, such as the electronic spins of defects in diamond, have precisely the type of interactions needed for our computation process,” said Nikolai Sinitsyn, a theoretical physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and co-author of the paper.

An MIT-led team reports a photonics system that could lead to machine-learning programs several orders of magnitude more powerful than the one behind ChatGPT. The system they developed could also use several orders of magnitude less energy than the state-of-the-art supercomputers behind the machine-learning models of today.

Still have a graphing calculator in a drawer? A new book explores the history of the device once dubbed a “math grenade.”

Further reading

 See our latest Manufacturing, Packaging and Materials newsletter for these highlights and more:

 Read our Test, Measurement & Analytics newsletter for these feature articles and more:

Upcoming events in the chip industry:

  • IEEE International System-on-Chip Conference (SOCC): SoCs/SiPs for Edge Intelligence & Accelerated Computing, Sept 5 – 8 (Santa Clara, CA)
  • Semicon Taiwan, Sept 6 – 8 (Taipei, Taiwan)
  • Strategic Materials Conference (SMC 2023), Oct 2 – 4 (San Jose, CA)
  • IMAPS Symposium 2023, Oct 2-5 (San Diego, CA)

Click here for upcoming webinars.

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