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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

SkyHigh Memory; battle for Versum; embedded JV.

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Chipmakers and OEMs
Cypress Semiconductor has received regulatory antitrust approval for the closing of its previously-announced joint venture with SK Hynix. The new joint venture, SkyHigh Memory, will provide single-level cell (SLC) NAND memory solutions.

Cree has announced the execution of a definitive agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit (Cree Lighting), which includes the LED lighting fixtures, lamps and corporate lighting solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications, to IDEAL INDUSTRIES, for approximately $310 million before tax impacts. The agreement continues Cree’s strategy, announced in February 2018, to create a more focused semiconductor company, providing growth capital for Wolfspeed, its core power and RF business.

Fab tools
The Sharp Group at Germany’s Walter Schottky Institute (WSI) has taken delivery of Veeco’s plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PE-ALD) system. The Sharp Group will leverage the system as an integral part of its discovery and material development efforts for applications in renewable energy conservation.

In case you missed it, it was Pi (π) Day this week. Lam Research discussed the topic in a blog.

In a blog, Applied Materials talks about developing low-power transistors using different techniques, such as selective removal.

Materials
The battle for Versum continues. Entegris recently announced plans to acquire Versum. However, Merck KGaA, based in Darmstadt, Germany, has filed a preliminary proxy statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), urging all Versum shareholders to vote “against” the Entegris acquisition and related proposals at the Versum special meeting of shareholders. Merck KGaA is convinced that the proposed Entegris transaction is not the best option available to the Versum shareholders, and that its proposal – $48 per share, all cash – is superior to the Entegris acquisition.

This is from Reuters: “Shares of Japan’s Hitachi Chemical were untraded on Monday, hit with a glut of buy orders after a report that parent company Hitachi Ltd. was considering a sale of its stake at a hefty premium of more than 40 percent.”

JSR will establish a U.S. headquarters for its biotechnology and life sciences focused businesses under the name JSR Life Sciences. Along with JSR Life Sciences, the company’s US-based semiconductor materials business, JSR Micro, will be held by the newly established JSR North America Holdings.

Test
National Instruments and ETAS GmbH have signed a definitive agreement to jointly design, build, and service pre-integrated hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) systems. HIL simulation is used in the development and test of embedded systems. Each company will own 50% of the joint venture, which will be headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. The companies plan to improve the test and validation of software in automotive electronics, including electronic control units and sensors.

Market research
The complexity of radio components for 5G will lead to higher smartphone prices that could impede 5G, according to Strategy Analytics. “With 5G, the radios in smartphones and other cellular devices have gotten extraordinarily complex in terms of functionality, bands and reconfigurability. In looking at the future of the radio component market, we closely considered architectures, historical price and demand trends to arrive at what we believe to be realistic compromises across the sometimes conflicting needs of operators, device OEMs and component suppliers,” said Christopher Taylor, director of RF & wireless components at the research firm.

The U.S. tech sector added an estimated 7,500 new jobs in February, according to an analysis by CompTIA, the technology industry association. This was a positive outcome amid weak hiring across much of the economy. Four of the tech sector’s five employment categories ended February in positive territory, CompTIA’s analysis of today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report finds. Computer, electronic, and semiconductor products manufacturing employment increased by an estimated 2,500 positions, with more than half of the total (1,300 positions) in the sub-category of computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing.

Events
IEEE International Reliability Physics Symposium (IRPS).
IRPS is slated from March 31 to April 4, 2019. (Hyatt Regency Monterey). “IRPS is the premiere conference for engineers and scientists to present new and original work in the area of microelectronics reliability. Drawing participants from the United States, Europe, Asia, and all other parts of the world, IRPS seeks to understand the reliability of semiconductor devices, integrated circuits, and microelectronic assemblies through an improved understanding of both the physics of failure as well as the application environment. IRPS provides numerous opportunities for attendees to increase their knowledge and understanding of all aspects of microelectronics reliability.”



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