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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

CapEx race; EUV shipments; MEMS design software.

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Chipmakers
The semiconductor capital spending race continues to escalate in the leading-edge logic space.

Intel and Samsung have separately announced big capital spending plans in 2019. Intel’s latest CapEx budget is $15.5 billion in 2019, while Samsung’s CapEx is slated for $16.204 billion for the year, according to KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Now, TSMC is raising the stakes. TSMC this week posted strong results for the quarter and raised its capital spending budget for 2019. “TSMC sharply raised its 2019 capex plan to $14B-$15B, up from its prior plan of over $11B, and it indicated similar capex in 2020; the raise was split roughly $1.5B for increased 7nm demand and $2.5B for a strong 5nm ramp in 2020. Demand is being led by an aggressive 5G rollout, along with good demand from a broad set of customers at the leading edge,” according to a research note from KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Still, the overall CapEx picture is gloomy. It is projected to reach $84.5 billion in 2019, down 9% over 2018, according to the firm. The downturn is due to the sluggish memory markets.

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Integrated Device Technology (IDT), a subsidiary of Renesas, now offers Avalanche’s MRAM devices to complement its range of power, sensor, timing and microcontroller devices.

X-FAB has announced the availability of a SONOS-based flash and embedded EEPROM on its XT018 BCD-on-SOI platform. This process will open a broader array of high-voltage apps.

Fab tools
ASML posted its results in the quarter. “ASML posted in line 3Q results, and offered 4Q guidance moderately below our expectation as four EUV shipments slipped into 1Q20 (due to previously discussed supply chain issues). Logic/foundry demand remains strong, while memory demand remains soft,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst at KeyBanc, in a report.

“ASML now expects to ship about 26 EUV systems in 2019, down from its previous expectation of 30 due to the 4 shipments slipping to 1Q20 from 4Q19. The company expects to ship 35 EUV systems in 2020, compared to its prior expectation of 30-35 units (which did not include the 4 pushed units from 4Q19),” Twigg said. “All 35 units are expected to be the latest NXE:3400C machines, which ASML shipped for the first time in 3Q. ASML expects the fully configured 3400C systems to carry roughly a 30% ASP premium to the 3400B systems, and have a throughput of 170 wafers per hour compared to 125 wafers per hour for the 3400B systems.”

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Coventor, a Lam Research Company, has rolled out its latest MEMS design software, called CoventorMP 1.2. This release has been designed to improve the accuracy of the device models. “The new version of CoventorMP has been enhanced to better support perforations, such as those used in MEMS microphones,” according to Coventor. “The Construct 3D Model function now recognizes perforations and perforation patterns and automatically incorporates them into the correct model component. Very high-density perforation spacing is supported for staggered circular and polygonal perforations.”

Nanometrics and Rudolph Technologies have announced that the combined company will be named Onto Innovation, following the close of the previously-announced merger of these companies.

Cognex, a supplier of machine vision systems for factory automation and industrial barcode reading, has acquired SUALAB, a Korean-based developer of vision software using deep learning for industrial applications.

Trade wars
What’s the latest between the U.S.-China trade wars? In a statement, Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), said: “The tariff delay on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods is welcome news for American businesses and consumers – but a one-step-forward, two-steps-back approach means U.S. businesses will continue to struggle under the burden of tariffs and uncertainty in supply chains. American businesses thrive when they can dedicate their time and resources to innovating and competing globally, not checking Twitter for trade policy updates and combing through HTS codes to find which products are facing higher taxes. We’re encouraged by the progress from (the current) round of trade talks and hope that President Trump will stop using tariffs as a weapon during this Phase 1 agreement.

“In August, U.S. consumer tech paid an additional $1.8 billion in tariffs, including over $124 million in tariffs on products critical to 5G deployment according to new data from CTA, compiled and analyzed by The Trade Partnership. Since July 2018, Section 301 tariffs on China have cost the U.S. consumer technology almost $14 billion, including over $1.3 billion on 5G-related products alone,” he said.

Market research
Strategy Analytics said that Qualcomm, HiSilicon, MediaTek, Samsung LSI, and Intel captured the top-five revenue share rankings in the global cellular baseband processor market in the second quarter of 2019. “Qualcomm maintained its baseband market revenue share leadership with 43% in Q2 2019 followed by HiSilicon with 15% revenue share and MediaTek with 14%,” according to the firm.

Here’s what Yole Développement says about the CMOS image sensor industry: “In 2019, the CIS industry still enjoys thriving growth thanks to the mobile market. But after conducting a quarterly analysis focused on individual markets and players, the picture is in fact much different than what the global number show.”



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