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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Trade wars; Intel 10nm, 7nm plans; Cree’s $1B bet.

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Trade
More trade news: “The Trump administration is hiking duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese products to 25% from 10%,” according to CNBC. The following is attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), in response to President Trump’s plan to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25%: “The president is seeking a better trade deal with China. But he must understand the Chinese don’t pay for these U.S. tariffs – American families, workers and companies pay for tariffs. Tariffs are taxes. And implementing these 25% tariffs on just five-days’ notice would roil our markets, damage U.S. businesses and do serious harm to Americans’ retirement funds and pensions.”

Chipmakers
What’s wrong with Intel? First, Intel recently exited the 5G modem chip business, but it will continue to field 4G chipsets. Still, Intel has lost about $16 billion on mobile between 2011 and 2018, according to Strategy Analytics.

Then, after an assortment of delays, Intel said it finally plans to ship its 10nm technology in June with 7nm due out in 2021. Intel unveiled its new roadmap at its analyst day.

Once the leader in process technology, Intel is clearly behind TSMC and Samsung. Both TSMC and Samsung have been shipping 7nm technology for some time, with 5nm due out in the first half of 2020. (Intel’s 10nm technology is similar to 7nm from the foundries. Intel’s 7nm is similar to 5nm from the foundries.)

Intel’s first volume 10nm processor, a mobile PC platform code-named “Ice Lake,” will begin shipping in June. Intel also plans to launch multiple 10nm products across the portfolio through 2019 and 2020. Originally, in 2016, Intel announced its 10nm process with plans to ship a processor based on the technology in the second half of 2017. So at best, Intel’s 10nm technology is at least two years late. Some say it’s five years late.

Intel provided its first updates on 7nm, which is due out in 2021. 7nm is also late to the market. The lead 7nm product is expected to be a general-purpose GPU for data center AI and high-performance computing. 7nm will mark the company’s first commercial use of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

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Cree will invest up to $1 billion in the expansion of its silicon carbide (SiC) capacity. As part of the plan, Cree is developing a 200mm SiC fab as well as materials mega-factory at its U.S. headquarters in Durham, N.C.

The investment will expand Cree’s Wolfspeed unit, which makes SiC and gallium-nitride (GaN) products. Upon completion in 2024, the facilities will increase the company’s SiC materials capability and wafer fabrication capacity. “These silicon carbide manufacturing mega-hubs will accelerate the innovation of today’s fastest growing markets by producing solutions that help extend the range and reduce the charge times for electric vehicles, as well as support the rollout of 5G networks around the world,” said Gregg Lowe, chief executive of Cree.

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Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) posted mixed results. The Chinese foundry company also disclosed that it is developing a 12nm finFET technology.

Marvell Technology Group will acquire all outstanding shares of Aquantia’s common stock in exchange for consideration of $13.25 per share in cash.

Fab tools and materials
KLA reported sales of $1.097 billion and GAAP net income of $193 million for the quarter. “KLA delivered strong results for the March quarter, finishing at the upper end or above the range of guidance for revenue, and GAAP and non-GAAP EPS,” said Rick Wallace, president and chief executive of KLA. “On February 20, we closed the merger with Orbotech, expanding our reach in the electronics value chain, opening $2 billion of new market opportunity to KLA and enhancing our ability to serve new and existing customers who are exposed to fast-growing end markets, such as 5G infrastructure, smart mobile and automotive.”

The Nano-Bio Materials Consortium (NBMC), a SEMI strategic association partner, has released a request for proposals (RFP) for projects designed to accelerate “smart medtech” innovations in health monitoring, diagnostics and augmentation. The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will provide primary funding for the approximate $6 million initial project call.

ASML said that the Santa Clara County Superior Court entered its final judgment in favor of ASML against XTAL. ASML has been awarded $845 million as well as an injunction in the case. XTAL was allegedly involved with theft of trade secrets, inducing former employees to breach their contracts with ASML, aiding and abetting former employees to breach their fiduciary duty of loyalty to ASML, and multiple violations of California’s Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, recently outbid Entegris to acquire Versum Materials. That deal is still pending. Now, Merck KGaA will acquire Intermolecular for $1.20 per share in cash, representing an equity value of $62 million.

Richard Hill, a director at Symantec and a former chairman and chief executive of Novellus Systems, has been appointed interim president and chief executive of Symantec, effective immediately. Hill succeeds Greg Clark, who has stepped down as president and CEO and as a member of the Symantec, also effective immediately. The company will commence a search process to find a permanent CEO.

Test
Advantest has extended its V93000 tester for next-generation 5G radio-frequency devices The new V93000 Wave Scale Millimeter solution features multi-site parallelism to support mmWave frequencies. In addition, Advantest has also introduced its GPWGD high-resolution module with an analog-performance digitizer for its T2000 tester. The module is used to test high-resolution audio digital-to-analog converters (DACs), embedded in power-management ICs (PMICs), and high-resolution audio devices.

National Instruments (NI), Radisys and CommScope have collaborated to demonstrate a 28GHz 5G New Radio (NR) network. This first public demonstration of the three companies’ collaboration shows a 28GHz base station based on various technologies.

Market research
According to Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments fell 4% to reach 330 million units in the first quarter. Samsung maintained first position with 22% global smartphone market share in the first quarter of 2019, staying ahead of Huawei in second, followed by Apple in third place.

Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas Instruments will increase its presence in Richardson, Texas and build a new 300mm analog fab there. Upon completion, the new facility is expected to create more than 488 jobs and represent more than $3.1 billion in capital investment. Who is the biggest analog chipmaker? “With analog sales of $10.8 billion and 18% market share, Texas Instruments maintained its firm grip as the world’s leading supplier of analog devices. TI’s 2018 analog sales increased $0.9 billion and were nearly twice those of second-ranked Analog Devices and more than 10x those of tenth-ranked Renesas, one of two companies among the top 10 to experience a decline in analog sales,” according to IC Insights.

The total market for photonic integrated circuit transceivers will grow from around $4 billion in 2018 to around $19 billion in 2024, from around 30 million units to around 160 million units, according to Yole.



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