|DIGITIMES Show Daily, SEMICON Taiwan 2006|
15 Sep 2006:
Now known as Vistec
Earlier this summer, DigiTimes.com had the opportunity to talk about the SEMICON show with the general manager of Vistec Semiconductor Systems Division, Gerhard Ruppik, and Vistec Semiconductor Systems Corporation chairman, Papken der Torossian.
13 Sep 2006:
Micron: Analyzing the present, looking to the future
Although the issue of excessive inventory is casting a shadow over the global semiconductor industry, players in the memory sector continue increasing their capital expenditure (capex). For Micron Technology, the world's fourth-largest DRAM maker through the first quarter of 2006, as estimated by iSuppli, it is not only its DRAM business that is driving its capex, but also the market potential of NAND flash, as well as the company's drive into new markets and products, according to company vice president of worldwide wafer fabrication, Brian J. Shields.
Rohm and Haas to open Chunan plant in December
US-based polishing technology supplier Rohm and Haas will conduct an opening ceremony at its Taiwan manufacturing site in December 2006, the company said at the SEMICON Taiwan 2006 trade show. Located in the Chunan expansion base of the Hsinchu Science Park, the plant will begin commercial operations in the first quarter of 2007, producing chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) pads for Taiwan-based customers, Rohm and Haas pointed out.
12 Sep 2006:
SEMICON Taiwan opens bigger than last year
The 11th annual SEMICON Taiwan trade show started on Monday at the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC), with 620 companies exhibiting their solutions at 1390 booths. Both numbers are higher compared to last year's show that featured 615 exhibitors and 1350 booths. This year, the three-day event is again expected to be visited by over 30,000 attendees, according to organizers from the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Institute (SEMI) and the Taiwan External Trade Council (TAITRA). In 2005, the number of registered visitors at SEMICON Taiwan was 33,114.
Controlled chaos of renaissance: Q&A with Ho-Ming Tong, R&D general manager of ASE
Last year, Taiwan's leading packaging-and-testing house Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) was expected to have a tough time since the company suffered from a fire at its plant in Chungli, Taoyuan County. However, ASE quickly rebounded and continued increasing its revenues. According to the Semiconductor Technology Center (STC), ASE remained the world's number one provider of outsourced semiconductor packaging and testing services, with a solid gap existing between the company and its nearest competitors.
From ITRS roadmap to latest lithography development
The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) is now one of the most important references for the semiconductor industry. It addresses the technological challenges the industry may meet over the next 15 years, indicating possible solutions. Today, all semiconductor-equipment and chip manufacturers follow white papers from the ITRS, when they implement their roadmaps. The first edition of ITRS was published in 1998, and it was co-written by experts from Europe, the US, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. ITRS 2005 is the 8th edition, and the 9th edition will become available by the end of 2006. In the roadmap to date, ITRS projects that the half-pitch of DRAM will shrink by 30% within a three-year timeframe, so that the roadmap becomes a guideline for the continuing revolution in chip design for deep submicron, bringing IC design into line with the basic precepts of Moore's Law and the transition to metal gates in the development of transistors for microprocessing units (MPUs).
Inventory? But don't panic
The semiconductor equipment book-to-bill (B/B) ratio dropped for the first time in six months in July, when it stood at 1.06, as opposed to 1.14 in June, according to figures posted by SEMI. The three-month billing average stood at US$1.65 billion in July, representing 6% on-month growth and 53% growth on-year. The B/B ratio had continued to gain, since last September, when it either improved or remained flat on-month. However, a look at the moving average ratio reveals that in July, the three-month average B/B ratio had actually shot up by 73% on-year, versus June's 53% on-year jump.
11 Sep 2006:
BASF values importance of chemical localization
Eyeing the rising role of chemical mechanical planarization (CMP), leading chemical maker BASF indicated that its solution meets the various current complex various mask layer requirements found in the market. BASF also addressed the importance of localizing production.
Despite shadow of lawsuit, SMIC preps for 65nm
The recent legal dispute between Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) has not hindered SMIC's plans to move on technology migration, with the leading China pure-play foundry now preparing to deploy leading edge 65nm and below design rules at its upcoming Shanghai fab (Fab 8), according to the company.
Rumored PSC-Elpida fab may use "Inotera" model
Although Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC) has reiterated that plans to construct a speculated new fab in cooperation with Elpida Memory have not yet been finalized, company chairman Frank Huang indicated that the success of Inotera Memories, the joint venture between Infineon Technologies and Nanya Technology, would be a viable model for any potential cooperation between the two DRAM makers.
Trenching ahead: Q&A with Charles Kau, president of Inotera
Created less than four years ago as a joint venture between the Germany-based Infineon Technologies and Taiwan-based Nanya Technology, Inotera Memories is now seen as an example of the achievements of Taiwan's semiconductor industry. Earlier this year, Inotera completed its initial public offering (IPO), listing on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE) in March. The company currently operates one 300mm plant in Linkou, Taoyuan County, with a monthly capacity of 65,000 wafer starts, and production will be fully converted to a 90nm trench process by the end of the third quarter. In November, Inotera will begin moving in equipment at its second 300mm facility in Linkou, deploying 90nm trench technology from the initial stage of the plant's operation. According to the company, the total capacity of its two Linkou plants will reach 95,000 wafer starts per month by the middle of 2007.
China-industry investments and industry development
China is one of the most dynamic areas in the overall electronics industry and the semiconductor sector in particular. Since 2000, a number of ambitious fab projects were announced in China, though slowing industry conditions in 2005 resulted in many projects being delayed, suspended or simply canceled. The capital spending outlook has improved in China as year-over-year bookings are up 240 percent based on investments by SMIC, Huahong Semiconductor International, Hynix-ST Semiconductor and others.
The next step - Industry takes aim at 450mm
The semiconductor industry faces challenges without end, and one of the major issues looming on the horizon is the move to 450 millimeters, and all the questions and challenges that involves.
Where do we go from here? Q&A with Archie Hwang, chairman of SEMI
In June, Archie Hwang became the first chairman of SEMI from Taiwan. In practice, he wears a number of hats. Hwang is chairman and CEO of Taiwan distributorship Hermes-Epitek. Simultaneously he's chairman of ion-implantation company AIBT as well as Hermes Microvision. He's well placed for a broad perspective on the industry, and he's well aware that those who've now completed the transition to 300-millimeter probably won't have much time to catch their breath. Talk of 450-millimeter production is already going the rounds.
Cross-strait second-hand equipment overview
Expansion in Taiwan's semiconductor industry is not dictated solely by the desire to deploy leading edge production technologies or larger wafer sizes, but also by current market dynamics and how they shape capacity expansion decisions. A case in point would be Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which earlier this year, amid expected declines in overall market demand, adjusted its planned capital expenditure (capex) for the second half of the year, while noting that most of its capex adjustment will be directed at 12-inch wafer capacity investment.