Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

SiC deals and divestments; EUV mask inspection; CapEx.


Chipmakers and OEMs
Delphi Technologies is in volume production with a 800 volt silicon carbide (SiC) inverter for next-generation electric and hybrid vehicles. The inverter extends electric vehicle (EV) ranges. It also halves the charging times compared with today’s 400 volt systems.

In a separate announcement, Delphi Technologies and Cree have announce a partnership to utilize SiC semiconductor device technology for future EVs. Cree’s SIC MOSFETs, coupled with Delphi’s traction drive inverters, DC/DC converters and chargers, will the extend the driving ranges and deliver faster charging times for EVs. Cree’s SIC MOSFETs will initially be used in Delphi’s 800 volt inverters for a premium global automaker. Production will ramp in 2022.

DuPont Electronics & Imaging (E&I) has signed an agreement to sell its Compound Semiconductor Solutions (CSS) business to SK Siltron, a silicon wafer supplier in South Korea. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019. “The DuPont CSS business has state-of-the-art technologies for SiC wafer production to serve the power electronics market, but it is not a strategic priority for the E&I business,” said Jon Kemp, president of DuPont Electronics & Imaging.

In recent public comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the SIA called for a major increase in funding for research to advance semiconductor technology and harness the transformative, semiconductor-enabled technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced wireless networks.

Fab and mask tools
Lasertec has released the ACTIS A150, a mask inspection system designed to inspect patterned masks for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. The new system will be presented next week at SPIE Photomask Technology + EUV Lithography 2019.

KLA will host an investor event on Sept. 17. “The company is in an expansion phase, investing in new facilities and spending on R&D to support future growth,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst with KeyBanc, in a research note. “We expect several new products to be highlighted, with the most anticipated likely the new EUV mask inspection tool. In addition, we expect the company to discuss positive mid-term drivers, such as strong traction with its Gen 5 inspection platform, limited equipment reuse at foundry 7nm, and strong mask inspection demand as customers prepare to ramp EUV in production.”

Veeco Instruments has announced that WZW-Optic has ordered multiple Veeco SPECTOR Ion Beam Sputtering (IBS) optical coating systems. WZW will leverage Veeco’s IBS technology to manufacture high-performance laser mirrors for a range of applications, including ring laser gyroscope mirrors used for commercial aviation. These systems were sold in cooperation with Veeco’s channel partner in France, veonis Technologies EURL.

Lam Research has presented six companies with its 2019 Supplier Excellence Awards. The awards were given to the following companies: Advanced Energy Industries, TOTO, Uni-Fab Industries, VAT Group and Watlow Electric Manufacturing. Lam’s joint venture partner, TALUS, was also recognized during the event for “Manufacturing Supplier Excellence.”

National Instruments (NI) has announced new STS software enhancements that deliver improvements to the programming and debugging experience, test execution speed, parallel test efficiency and overall equipment efficiency for the NI Semiconductor Test System.

Market research
Investments in new fab projects starting construction in 2020 is expected to reach nearly $50 billion, up about $12 billion from 2019, according to the latest update of the World Fab Forecast from SEMI.

TECHCET forecasts that global trade wars have reduced demand for semiconductors although the semiconductor materials markets will shrink only slightly in 2019. In April, TECHCET had forecast growth of ~3.0%, while the updated forecast shows a shrinking of ~1.4% total market in the global market for semiconductor manufacturing materials to reach a total of over $47 billion.

Find upcoming semiconductor industry events here, including SPIE Photomask Technology & EUV Lithography (Sept 15-19).

Also watch out for the SEMI Strategic Materials Conference 2019. This is an event offering the latest market insights into drivers of advanced materials in the electronics supply chain. Topics include market trends, substrates, emerging materials and applications, and automotive. The event takes place on Sept. 23-25, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. Register today for early bird pricing.

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