Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Intel’s supply constraints; chip rankings; fab tool upturn.


For some time, Intel has experienced supply constraints and shortages for its 14nm chip products. Apparently, the company is still having issues with both 14nm and 10nm. “Despite our best efforts, we have not yet resolved this challenge,” according to a statement from Michelle Johnston Holthaus, executive vice president and general manager of the Sales, Marketing and Communications group at Intel.

Intel recently increased its capital spending. “In addition to expanding Intel’s own manufacturing capability, we are increasing our use of foundries to enable Intel’s differentiated manufacturing to produce more Intel CPU products,” Holthaus said in the statement.

“However, sustained market growth in 2019 has outpaced our efforts and exceeded third-party forecasts. Supply remains extremely tight in our PC business where we are operating with limited inventory buffers,” Holthaus said. “This has resulted in the shipment delays you are experiencing, which we appreciate is creating significant challenges for your business.”


Faraday Technology has announced the availability of its fundamental IP on UMC’s 22nm ultra-low-power (ULP) and ultra-low-leakage (ULL) processes. Faraday’s 22ULP/ULL IP is designed to address low-power devices in 22nm chip applications. Compared to 28nm, the 22nm cell library can reduce chip die area by 10% or decrease power consumption by more than 30% under the same performance rate.

Cree and STMicroelectronics have expanded and extended their existing silicon carbide (SiC) wafer supply agreement to more than $500 million. The extended agreement is a doubling in value of the original agreement for the supply of Cree’s 150mm SiC bare and epitaxial wafers to STMicroelectronics over the next several years.

Cree and ABB’s Power Grids business have announced a partnership to jointly expand the rollout of SiC in the high-power semiconductor market. The agreement incorporates the use of Cree’s Wolfspeed SiC-based semiconductors into ABB’s product portfolio.

Fab tools
Soitec has announced a program with Applied Materials to develop next-generation silicon carbide (SiC) substrates. The companies will install a SiC engineered substrate pilot line at CEA-Leti. The line is expected to be operational by the first half of 2020, with samples due out in the second half of 2020.

Market research
IC Insights has released its forecast of the top-25 semiconductor suppliers in terms of sales in 2019. Intel will reclaim its number one ranking in 2019, surpassing Samsung, according to the firm. TSMC moved up one place to third on the list. Click here for chip rankings.

SEMI and 19 partners have launched an initiative to fill the skills gap in the IC industry. The project, dubbed METIS (Microelectronics Training, Industry and Skills), will focus on the skills and related training needed to support emerging verticals, such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous driving and Industry 4.0. The group will develop a new skills strategy for the microelectronics industry in Europe.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $2.11 billion in billings worldwide in October of 2019, according to SEMI. The billings figure is 7.7% higher than the final September 2019 level of $1.96 billion, and is 3.9% higher than the October 2018 billings level of $2.03 billion. “Monthly billings of North American equipment manufacturers registered their first year-over-year increase since October 2018 and are at their highest level since December of last year,” said Ajit Manocha, president and CEO of SEMI. “Equipment billings are accelerating on the strength of memory inventory drawdowns and foundry investments in leading-edge equipment.”

Leave a Reply

(Note: This name will be displayed publicly)