The Week In Review: Manufacturing

UMC’s new execs; GF’s 7nm; cellphone/baseband rankings.

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Chipmakers
UMC has appointed two senior vice presidents–S.C. Chien and Jason Wang–as co-presidents of the company, following Po-Wen Yen’s retirement as UMC’s CEO. The co-presidents are accountable for the overall performance of UMC. They will report to UMC Chairman Stan Hung. Chien will focus on the core manufacturing and technology aspects of UMC, including R&D and operations. Wang will focus on the business aspects of UMC. Most recently, Wang was senior vice president in charge of worldwide sales and corporate marketing.

GlobalFoundries has announced the availability of its 7nm Leading-Performance (7LP) finFET technology, delivering a 40% performance boost to meet the needs of applications such as mobile processors, cloud servers and networking infrastructure. Design kits are available now, and the first customer products based on 7LP are expected to launch in the first half of 2018, with volume production ramping in the second half of 2018.

Fluor has been awarded a contract by GlobalFoundries to provide onsite maintenance and operations support for its water fabrication units at its Burlington, Vt. and Fishkill, N.Y. locations. Fluor will book the undisclosed contract value in the second quarter of 2017.

Samsung has begun volume production of a 64-layer, 256Gb V-NAND flash memory for use with an expanding line-up of storage solutions for server, PC and mobile applications.

Synaptics has agreed to acquire Conexant and its portfolio of silicon and software solutions for audio, voice and imaging applications for $300 million in cash.

Amid a proxy battle, Cypress Semiconductor announced that Ray Bingham has tendered his resignation as executive chairman and is stepping down from the board.

Test and measurement
National Instruments (NI) has rolled out a new Internet of Things (IoT) teaching approach with a suite of advanced tools. Professors and students can take advantage of these teaching tools, which consist of the myRIO Student Embedded Device, LabVIEW toolkits, PTC’s ThingWorx software and projects created by Tufts University, to build real-world IoT applications in the classroom.

In an article entitled, “Reimagining fabs: Advanced analytics in semiconductor manufacturing,” McKinsey & Co. has tackled the subject of transforming efficiencies in the fab. Through interviews with analytics vendors, including two Optimal+ executives, the article addresses the opportunities that advanced data analytics present to fabs in transforming the manufacturing supply chain.

Market research
IC Insights has released the final 2016 ranking of the top smartphone leaders in terms of unit shipments. “Seven of the top 10, and 10 of the top 14 companies were headquartered in China, with two South Korean (Samsung and LG) and one U.S. (Apple) and one Taiwanese company (Asus) making up the remainder of the companies listed. It is interesting to note that OPPO and Vivo, the two fastest growing smartphone suppliers on the list last year with each company growing almost 90%, are owned by the same China-based parent company—BBK Electronics,” according to IC Insights.

Based on Strategy Analytics’ research, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung LSI, Spreadtrum and HiSilicon grabbed the top-five baseband revenue share spots in 2016. “Qualcomm, despite intense competition, maintained its baseband leadership with 50% revenue share, followed by MediaTek with 24% revenue share and Samsung LSI with 10% revenue share in 2016. LTE basebands registered a robust 36% year-over-year growth in 2016 while all other baseband segments declined sharply,” according to the firm.