Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Foundry rankings; HBM; 300mm fabs.


TrendForce released its foundry rankings for the first quarter of 2019. TSMC is still the clear leader, followed in order by Samsung, GlobalFoundries and UMC, according to the firm. It was a tough quarter for all foundries.

Samsung has rolled out its new High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2E) product. The new solution, called Flashbolt, is the industry’s first HBM2E to deliver a 3.2Gbps data transfer speed per pin, which is 33% faster than the previous HBM2 product. Flashbolt has a density of 16Gb per die, double the capacity of the previous generation. With these improvements, a single HBM2E package will offer a 410GBps data bandwidth and 16GB of memory.

Micron posted its results. “While memory pricing fell sharply in F2Q amid soft demand, Micron benefited from upside in NAND shipments due to a large customer pull-in and improved mix. F3Q guidance was soft, and gross margin is expected to decline sharply on lower revenue and reduced fab output,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst at KeyBanc. “Micron also trimmed its F2019 capex budget again, to $9 billion from $9-$9.5 billion, and it lowered its 2019 industry bit demand and supply estimates; however, it expects demand to begin to recover in 2H as data center customers recover, Intel CPU shortages are resolved, and as DRAM and NAND content per device increases.”

UnitedSiC, a manufacturer of silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors, has announced a strategic investment and supply agreement from Analog Devices.

Chipmaker ams and Wise Road Capital have signed an agreement to create a joint venture to advance the development of environmental, flow and pressure sensor solutions. Under the agreement, employees, IP, sensor products and solutions and related customers will transfer from ams to the joint venture. Wise Road Capital will provide guidance, strength in channel and customer relationships, especially in China.

Fab tools and materials
Aledia, a developer of next-generation 3D LEDs for display applications, is using Veeco’s MOCVD system to support the development and production of advanced 3D micro-LEDs. Veeco’s system enables GaN-on-silicon growth for large-wafer 3D LED production.

Fractilia has released MetroLER version 2, which includes its second-generation Fractilia Inverse Linescan Model (FILM) technology. The software tool measures line-edge roughness (LER) in patterns, especially in EUV. It works with CD-SEMs from various vendors. With version 2.0 of MetroLER, Fractilia has moved beyond just roughness measurements and have added capabilities for many other measurements and analyses. “We still provide the most accurate unbiased LWR and LER results. But now we can do a lot more,” said Chris Mack, CTO of Fractilia. “Through much work with our partners and customers we have found that FILM is an enabling technology beyond just roughness measurements. Its ability to detect edges without any filtering results in significantly higher accuracy on a wide range of measurements. We measure what is on the wafer, not what is on the SEM image. We provide both precision and accuracy.”

Market research firm Roskill attended and presented at the recent FerroAlloyNet Vanadium conference. What’s up with the element vanadium?

Market research
The number of 300mm wafer fabrication facilities in operation continues to increase. “With nine new 300mm wafer fabs scheduled to open in 2019, the worldwide number of operational 300mm wafer fabs is expected to climb to 121 this year,” according to IC Insights.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $1.86 billion in billings worldwide in February 2019, according to SEMI. The billings figure is 1.7% lower than the final January 2019 level of $1.90 billion, and is 23.0% lower than the February 2018 billings level of $2.41 billion.

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.”

SOI Silicon Valley Symposium
This year’s event is on April 9 at the San Jose Double Tree Hilton Hotel. This year’s Symposium will focus on SOI products and applications.

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