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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

ISS recap; deposition sensors; NuFlare saga; TSMC.

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Fab tools, chips and technologies
What happened at the SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) this week? The annual three-day conference of executives gave the year’s first comprehensive outlook of the global electronics manufacturing industry. Click here to see the details.

CyberOptics has unveiled its new WaferSense Auto Resistance Sensor (ARS) and its CyberSpectrum software. The products are designed for semiconductor tool set-up and diagnostics. The 300mm Auto Resistance Sensor (ARS) with CyberSpectrum software enables real-time resistance measurements of plating cell contacts in electrochemical deposition (ECD) applications. The ARS identifies and monitors resistance measurements with 50 separate pads around the perimeter utilizing a 4-wire resistance method to detect residue affecting plating pins.

In a blog, Applied Materials talked about its recent event at IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM). The event reaffirmed that the semiconductor industry is in a period of reinvention.

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What’s the latest with NuFlare? As reported, Hoya recently made an unsolicited $1.4 billion bid to acquire NuFlare, a supplier of e-beam mask writers and other equipment. Hoya makes several products, including mask blanks for optical and EUV lithography. Meanwhile, Toshiba doesn’t plan to sell its interest in NuFlare to Hoya.

Here’s a new report from Reuters: “Toshiba Corp. said on Friday its succeeded with its takeover bid for chip equipment unit NuFlare Technology Inc., staving off a higher counter offer by Hoya Corp.”

Chipmakers
TSMC posted strong results in the quarter and raised its capital spending budget, according to a report.

“TSMC raised its 2020 capex to $15B-$16B, up from the $14.9B it spent in 2019, primarily to support a strong 5nm ramp, led by demand from 5G and other leading-edge customers. TSMC forecasts 2020 semiconductor industry sales (ex-memory) to grow 8% y/y vs. a 3% decline in 2019. TSMC saw strong demand at 7nm/5nm nodes in 2020, with growth coming from all four platforms, including Mobile, HPC, IoT and Automotive,” said Weston Twigg, an analyst at KeyBanc, in a report.

STMicroelectronics has signed a multi-year silicon carbide (SiC) wafer supply agreement with SiCrystal, part of Rohm. Rohm will supply SiC wafers to ST as part of the deal.

Test
National Instruments (NI) has appointed Braemac as the primary authorized distributor for NI’s products in Australia and New Zealand.

Trade
U.S. stock indexes touched record highs but then leveled off after President Donald Trump signed the first phase of a trade deal with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, deescalating an 18-month conflict between the two nations.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) applauded Senate approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which passed with bipartisan support. “Congressional approval of the USMCA is a major win for free trade and America’s global leadership in semiconductors and the technologies they enable,” said John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO. “The agreement will help ensure that more products researched, designed, and made in America – including semiconductors – can flow to customers around the world.”

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