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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Foundry rankings; EUV DRAMs; ASE-SPIL clear hurdle.

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Chipmakers
TrendForce has released its projected foundry rankings in terms of sales for the first quarter. TSMC is still in first place, followed by Samsung, GlobalFoundries and UMC.

Samsung has been ramping up chips based on its 7nm logic process using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Now, Samsung is ramping up its DRAM devices using EUV and plans to expand its capacity in the arena. To date, Samsung has shipped one million of the industry’s first 10nm-class (D1x) DDR4 DRAM modules using EUV. In addition, EUV will be deployed in Samsung’s future DRAMs, starting with its fourth-generation 10nm-class (D1a). That’s based on its 14nm-class process. Samsung expects to begin volume production of D1a-based DDR5 and LPDDR5 next year.

The U.S. is looking at new measures to restrict the supply of chips to Huawei, according to CNBC. The Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has announced an extension of the public comment period on Huawei Temporary General License Extensions through April 22.

Faraday’s 28Gbps programmable SerDes PHY is available on UMC’s 28HPC process technology. This CEI-25G-LR compliant SerDes solution comes with a programmable architecture that supports data rates of up to 25Gbps across long-reach channels. Additionally, it supports multiple protocol standards, including 25G/100G Ethernet, PCIe Gen1-4, and JESD204B/C. The IP also supports xPON applications.

X-FAB continues to drive the adoption of silicon carbide (SiC) technology. The company is the first pure-play foundry to add internal SiC epitaxy capabilities to its offerings.

Micron posted mixed results for the quarter. “MU posted a F2Q beat and relatively in-line F3Q guidance as near-term demand dynamics remain strong, led by surges in datacenter and PC demand to support expanding work/school from home and online applications. However, midterm demand is uncertain, and MU withdrew its 2020 demand outlook,” according to Weston Twigg, an analyst at KeyBanc, in a report.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Intel will source and donate more than 1 million items of personal protective equipment – masks, gloves and other gear – to healthcare workers. In addition, the Intel Foundation will provide $4 million to support coronavirus relief efforts.

Fab tools
KLA is creating a $2 million fund to focus on global relief efforts benefiting nonprofit organizations in regions with the highest number of individuals affected by COVID-19, and locations with high-risk populations. The two-phase charitable funding initiative will provide support for food banks, elderly communities, public hospitals and medical units, and educational infrastructure. Phase 1 will target immediate relief for vulnerable communities, while phase 2 will focus on recovery and assistance.

CyberOptics has received additional orders valued at around $1.6 million for its 2D MX600 system for post-singulation inspection of memory modules. CyberOptics anticipates that these orders will become revenue in the second half of 2020.

In a blog, Lam Research talks about AI and its place in society. The blog also looks at the history of AI.

ASM International has named Benjamin Loh as its new chief executive, president and chairman, succeeding Chuck del Prado. Loh has held various executive positions in the industry.

Packaging
The China government has lifted the restrictive conditions on the merger of ASE and Siliconware (SPIL).

In 2016, Taiwan’s ASE, the world’s largest OSAT, took a controlling stake in Taiwan’s SPIL, the world’s third largest OSAT. Following the move, ASE and SPIL announced the formation of a holding company called ASE Technology Holding (ASEH). The deal cleared most regulators around the world except for China. As part of the restrictive conditions imposed by China’s Anti-Monopoly Bureau, ASE and SPIL had to operate as independent entities for a specified period.

That condition has been lifted. “ASE and SPIL will be able to cooperate more closely after the aforementioned restrictive conditions have been lifted and this is expected to strengthen ASEH’s operational synergy and R&D capacity,” according to ASE.

Market research
Since 2009, semiconductor manufacturers have closed or repurposed 100 wafer fabs, according to IC Insights. “IC Insights has identified four additional wafer fabs—one owned by NJR, two at Renesas, and one operated by Analog Devices—that are slated to close in the 2020-21 time period,” according to the firm.

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