Weiner’s World: March 2016

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Nearly 150 guests attended IEC's (International Electronic Components) 50th anniversary celebration party held by the company President Shawn Stone at the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino during IPC APEX EXPO.

Sales figures reported by Germany's printed circuit board manufacturers in January 2016 were 7.5% lower than those reported for January 2015.

XMC, a contract chip maker owned by the Chinese government, will break ground before the end of the month in Wuhan for the first Chinese-owned plant dedicated to producing the most widely used memory chips. $24 billion will be invested in the project leveraging its partnership with U.S. flash memory maker Spansion (now part of Cypress Semiconductor). The venture will primarily use money from a national fund to support the semiconductor sector that China established in recent years. The new factory will produce both flash memory and DRAMs. XMC said that the $24 billion will be invested in three stages: the initial factory focusing on NAND flash-memory production; a second facility for DRAM chips; and a third stage devoted to supplier operations. The first product is expected to become available in 2017.

A major enabling process breakthrough at MIT's School of Engineering—I wonder how fast this one will become commercially viable?

MIT researchers have created the thinnest and lightest solar cells ever made. Just one-fiftieth the thickness of a human hair, and capable of producing up to six watts of power per gram, the prototype cells have the potential to add solar power to everything from paper-based electronics, all manner of mobile devices and exceptionally lightweight wearables. The power-to-weight ratio is where these new cells shine. They produce an output 400x greater per kg than standard glass-covered solar cells. The researchers used the common flexible polymer parylene for both the substrate and the coating, and DBP (dibutyl phthalate, an organic material and a commonly used plasticizer), as the main light-absorbing layer. The entire process is performed at room temperature without the use of any solvents. The substrate and the cell are simply produced on a carrier in a vacuum chamber using standard vapor deposition processes. Both the substrate and the protective top coating are “grown” at the same time, sealing the fragile photovoltaic layer from harm early in the manufacturing process.

SEMI China researched the packaging and assembly industry segment and observed a total of 147 semiconductor packaging and assembly related companies, representing, by revenues, 96% of the semiconductor package manufacturers in China. Most companies are concentrated in the Yangtze River Delta area, covering Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang provinces, and in the Pearl River Delta area of Guangdong province. Sixty-five percent of all packaging companies in the SEMI China research are located in Jiangsu, Guangdong or Shanghai.

This large base for packaging and assembly, which includes discrete, power, and LED packaging companies, results in China being the largest regional market consuming packaging equipment (with $800 million sold in 2015 and a similar amount or higher estimated for 2016). For packaging materials, China is the second largest market globally—second only to Southeast Asia—and total packaging material sales are expected to reach $4.4 billion in 2016. (Source: SEMI China)

Taiwan-based PCB companies produced 1.8% more circuits in Taiwan and China in 2015 than in 2014. The value was $17.3 billion.

Atotech announced the inauguration of its new RM 50M Asian chemical production plant in Penang, Malaysia. The new facility has a full production capacity of 12.000 t/a per single‐shift operation. The expansion is aimed at supporting the company's large customer‐base in the region developing next generation electronics goods.

Asahi Glass has commercialized a new cover glass for fingerprint sensors used for security access of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Toppan Printing has developed a new photomask for the next generation of EUV lithography processes in chip manufacture. It minimizes unnecessary reflections.

Gene Weiner is president of Weiner International Associates. To contact Gene, click here.



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