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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Semicon China postponed; MOCVD; Lam expands; 5nm AI.

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Fab tools
Citing the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, SEMI has postponed Semicon/FPD China 2020 and related events originally scheduled for March 18-20, 2020. For the same reason, SEMI will no longer host Semicon Korea 2020 in Seoul, South Korea, February 5-7, as originally scheduled.

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Veeco has introduced the new Lumina Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) platform.

Based on its proprietary TurboDisc reactor technology, the new MOCVD platform includes the Lumina R480 and Lumina R480S models. Applications include VCSELs, edge-emitting lasers and Mini/MicroLEDs.

“Leading photonics manufacturers are currently seeing the benefits of our Lumina MOCVD system and are validating its impact in the manufacturing of high-volume photonics devices,” said Gerry Blumenstock, senior vice president of product line management at Veeco. “As the world’s leader in MOCVD equipment, the Lumina platform is the answer for the next generation VCSEL, EEL and mini/micro LED devices. With its proven design, technology and performance, Lumina provides exciting opportunities for the next generation of photonics devices.”

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Lam Research has selected the Batu Kawan Industrial Park in Penang, Malaysia as the location for a new advanced technology production facility. The new facility will be 700,000-square-feet at the initial phase with the opportunity to expand in the future. Construction is expected to begin in early 2020, with the first shipments by 2021. With the new facility, it is projected that there will be up to approximately 350 jobs added over the next three years, including roles in manufacturing, facilities and on-site shipping and receiving.

KLA reported net income of $381 million, or $2.40 a share, on sales of $1.51 billion for the quarter. “Although it’s difficult to parse through and get exact dollar figures for the segment breakdown since KLAC (KLA) does not break out mask and bare wafer inspection revenues, eye-balling the percentage segment mix, it is obvious that foundry revenues should grow sequentially (even stronger) into the March Q,” said Krish Sankar, an analyst at Cowen, in a research note. “But given the C1H loaded nature of this spend, it should slowdown into the back half (Gen 5, and EUV exposure could possibly moderate this). The negative surprise was the Q/Q slowdown in memory revenues in the March Q at a time when peers are expecting growth.”

CyberOptics was awarded two 2020 NPI Awards in the category of Test and Inspection. The awards were presented during the IPC APEX EXPO.

SEMI-FlexTech has launched six projects to accelerate sensor and sensor system innovations for new applications in industries including healthcare, automotive, industrial and defense. In collaboration with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, will provide more than $2.3 million in funding for the projects aimed at maturing the flexible-hybrid electronics (FHE) technology ecosystem.

Hprobe, a provider of automatic test equipment (ATE) for magnetic devices, has completed a new round of funding. The company has raised more than 2 million euros.

Multibeam confirmed that David Lam will disclose more details about “Security Lithography” at the upcoming February 23-27 SPIE Advanced Lithography conference at the San Jose Convention Center. The Multibeam Chairman and CEO will present a paper, entitled “Novel Patterning Technologies for Semiconductors.”

Chipmakers
For the fourth quarter, UMC’s sales were up 10.9% from the previous quarter and up 17.8% year-over-year. In addition, UMC’s capital spending budget is $1 billion in 2020. “Utilization rate increased to 92%, bringing wafer shipments to 2.04 million 8-inch equivalent wafers primarily driven by the communication and computing segments,” said Jason Wang, co-president of UMC. “Looking to the first quarter of 2020, based on customer forecasts, the overall business outlook appears to remain consistent with the previous quarter, primarily due to stable wafer demand across wireless communication and computer peripheral segments.”

UMC has certified its 14nm process on the Calibre Eco Fill tape-out flow utility from Mentor, a Siemens business. In addition, UMC is also readying its 22nm process. “In terms of technology, we recently validated our 22nm process on a USB 2.0 test vehicle, demonstrating the technology readiness of this design rule shrink from 28nm. UMC’s 22nm process features a 10% area reduction, better power-to-performance ratio and enhanced RF capabilities compared to our existing 28nm high-k/metal-gate technology,” Wang said.

UMC has also achieved a “Leadership Level” status in the annual global CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) Climate Change Program. UMC became the only semiconductor foundry worldwide to receive this award from CDP, which is a recognized carbon, water, forest and other natural resource management disclosure system for global companies.

ON Semiconductor is exploring the sale of its manufacturing facility in Oudenaarde, Belgium.

Presto Engineering has acquired the DELTA Microelectronics business unit of FORCE Technology. With this acquisition, Presto adds ASIC design to its suite of services.

TRIPLE-1 has introduced a new Bitcoin mining ASIC based on a 7nm process from TSMC. The cryptocurrency vendor has also announced an AI processor for deep learning based on 5nm.

Market research
Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments in 2019 declined 7% from the 2018 record high, while revenue remained above the $11 billion mark despite a global silicon revenue slip of 2% over the same period, according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG). “2019 decline in worldwide semiconductor silicon volume shipments resulted from memory market softness and inventory normalization,” said Neil Weaver, vice president of the SEMI SMG, and director of product development and applications engineering, at Shin-Etsu Handotai America. “Despite the volume dip, silicon revenue remained resilient.”

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