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SEMICON Europa 2014 calls for innovators

September 16, 2014 1 comment

SEMICON Europa 2014 will be held at Grenoble, France, on October 7-9 October, 2014. The event will see over 400 exhibitors, which means, the exhibition area has expanded by over 40 percent vs. 2013. There will be over 70 programs featuring 300+ speakers. SEMI expects 6,000+ visitors.

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A feature of the event will be the Innovation Village that will feature 35 start-ups. I have been just informed that four start-ups have cancelled. So, that leaves 31 start-ups: ActLight, Aryballe, Avalun, Bluwireless Technology, CALAO Systems, Enerstone, Euresis, Epigan, Evaderis, Exagan, Feeligreen, Genes’Ink, Grapheat, Gridbee, Heyday, Hotblock Onboard, Imagsa Technology, Irlynx, Madci, Metablue Solution, Nessos, Nocilis Materials, Noivion, PETsys Electronics, Pollen Technology, Scint-X, Sepcell, Silicon Line GmbH, Smoltek, Sol Voltaics and Wavelens.

A few start-ups are given below:

ActLight SA: It focuses in the field of CMOS photonics.

AVALUN SAS: It currently develops the LabPad®, a next – generation mobile point-of-care (POC) device.

CALAO Systems: It is the specialist of onboard connected computers.

eVaderis: It offers energy efficient, low power mixed – signal data – centric control processors.

Enerstone: It works with rechargeable battery manufacturers and integrators to improve the charge quality of their batteries.

Exagan: It is a leading supplier of Gallium Nitride based transistor devices.

Feeligreen: It provides micro – current devices for dermo – cosmetics and dermo – therapeutics.

Grapheat: It is a young startup specialized in the production and integration of monolayer high – quality of graphene on wafers and substrates for specific applications.

Gridbee Communications: It is developing Innovative long range Mesh Network solution for connected objects.

Heyday: It develops semiconductor ICs for the power conversion market.

Irlynx: It develops and commercializes infrared sensors.

Nessos Information Technologies SA: Nessos is a highly qualified software development company.

Nocilis Materials: It offers various silicon based semiconductor materials.

Noivion: It developed and patented a new thin film deposition technique named Ionized Jet Deposition (IJD).

PETsys Electronics SA: It developed new PET detectors for next generation of medical PET scanners.

Pollen Technology: It is a software company.

Scint-X: It develops and produces cutting – edge structured scintillators.

Silicon Line: A leading global provider of innovative ultra – low power optical link technology for mobile and consumer electronics markets.

Smoltek AB: It offers a proprietary conductive nano – scale carbon technology.

Wavelens: It is developing disruptive optical MEMS solutions.

On October 7, there will be a five-minute pitch for each start-up participating. It will be followed by a panel discussion: ‘Fundraising for the Future Champions of European Electronics: Strategies, Challenges and Opportunities. Day two will host the Innovation conference.

Categories: Semiconductors

E450EDL – European 450mm equipment demo line


Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO, Future Horizons, sent me the Enable 450 newsletter. The goal of the Enable 450 is: Co-ordination Action to enable an effective European 450 mm Equipment and Materials Network. Here, I am presenting a bit about the E450EDL – European 450mm Equipment demo line.

Malcolm Penn

Malcolm Penn

The aim of the ENIAC E450EDL key enabling technology pilot project is to continue the engagement of the European semiconductor equipment and materials industry in the 450mm wafer size transition that started with the ENIAC JU EEMI450 initiative and proceeded with subsequent projects funded with public money, amongst others NGC450, SOI450, EEM450PR.

The demo line resulting from this project will be such that it will enable first critical process module development by combining imec infrastructure with tools remaining at the site of the manufacturers (distributed pilot line). Multi-site processing will allow partners to participate in the world first 450mm integration studies and will be enabled by the controlled exchange of 450mm wafers between different sites.

The consortium comprises 41 members (from 11 different European countries) with many SMEs and research institutes. The project is organized in five technical work packages and a work package on management and co-ordination.

In the work package on integration and wafer processing first critical modules will be developed and will demonstrate the feasibility of processing on 450mm wafers. The main objective in the work package on lithography is to develop a wafer stage test-rig, which
can be implemented into the pilot line system. In the work package on front end equipment several tools will be developed such as a plasma ion implant module, a plasma dry etch module, a RTP system and a single wafer cleaning system.

Furthermore, in the dedicated work package on metrology 450mm metrology tool types will be developed for amongst others dielectric film thickness and composition measurements, defect inspection, defect review and analysis, optical critical dimensions (CD), overlay (mask and wafer) and 3D metrology.

Finally, from the work package on wafer handling and automation a set of equipment will be provided to support the demo line operations, and facilitate the R&D dedicated to process and metrology modules.

The project will last 36 months beginning on 1st of October 2013. The budget has been given at €204.6 million of which the ENIAC JU will fund €30.8 million. This project is still considering new members so if you are interested please contact ASML.
Read more…

Unlocking full potential of soft IP


SoC design challenges and needs are diverse. There are many diverse IP blocks. It is time consuming to verify. Picking correct IP is critically important.

Speaking on the TSMC Soft IP Alliance program, Dan Kochpatcharin, deputy director, TSMC said that IP sourcing priorities include is it available, Is it from trusted partners, how is the design quality, and what are the specs and cost? Some other points to note are: is an IP verified, has it been silicon proven, what has been tested and how many in production volume already?

TSMC Soft IP Alliance program.

TSMC Soft IP Alliance program.

TSMC Soft IP Alliance has 5000+ IP titles from 40+ IP vendors. The IP Alliance program has been expanding. It is leveraging on successful IP. More and more customers are concerned about PPA data of soft IP specific technology when doing system design.

The Soft IP Alliance has 16 members. The Soft-IP quality assessment TSMC 9000 is key. New soft-IP handoff kit were rolled out in Nov. 2012. Major partners have now joined to drive soft-IP quality, such as Imagination, Sonics, MIPS, etc.

TSMC Soft-IP 9000 has carried out industry first QA assessment system for RTL based IP. TSMC and IP partners co-optimize RTL/process to deliver PPA optimized IPs.

Mike Gianfagna, Atrenta, spoke on the implementing program with Atrenta IP kit. Atrenta’s SpyGlass is a systematic approach to soft IP quality.

If you look at what’s needed for IP assessment, there are factors such as right abstraction levels must be supported, and soft IP is delivered as generators, RTL or gates; the biggest need is here. The IP must be comprehensive, easy to use, objective and quantifiable, actionable, and dynamic and scalable. Atrenta and TSMC announced SpyGlass IP kit 2.0 in October 2012

What does the IP kit check? Many items that would impact the integration/debug time and chip function were found and fixed. Soft IP qualification can be automated. It results in higher quality deliverables. All soft IP can be improved. Primary beneficiaries are chip integrators.

John Bainbridge, Sonics, spoke on the practical results of program participation. Sonics is a leader in system IP for SoCs. It enables designers to integrate any IP from anywhere, anytime.

Sonics helps leading SoC vendors solve some of the most difficult challenges in SoC design. These can be IP integration, high frequency, memory throughput, security, physical design, power management, development costs, and time-to-market. Sonics is a lead beta partner for TSMC Soft IP 2.0 kit program. It has worked closely with Atrenta and TSMC to ensure a seamless design flow.

Union budget 2013-14: Is there some hope for semiconductors?

February 28, 2013 8 comments

Here are highlights of the Union budget 2013-14 presented by P. Chidambaram, union Finance minister, Government of India. Also, is there finally, some hope for the Indian semiconductor industry?

Highlights

* Doing business with India should be easy, friendly and helpful.
* Foreign investments must be encouraged.
* Accelerating growth is the main goal.
* Need to encourage FDI in consonance with economic priorities.
* To target $1 trillion in infrastructure in the 12th plan.
* There are incentives for semiconductor wafer fab manufacturing.
* There will be appropriate incentives for the semiconductors industry, including zero customs duty on plants and machineries.

* To increase allocation for science and atomic departments.
* Indian Institute of BioTechnology to be set up at Ranchi.
* Non-conventional wind energy sector needs help.
* Will encourage cities to take up waste-energy projects through PPPs.
* Plan being developed for Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor.
* Preparatory work started for Bengalooru-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
* To launch two new industrial cities in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
* Propose to continue with the Technology Upgradation funds scheme for the textile sector.
* India’s first women’s public sector bank to be set up.
* Woman’s bank license to be in place by October, 2013.
* All PSU banks branches to have ATMs by March, 2014.
* Zero customs duty for electrical plants and machinery proposed.
* Higher customs duty on set-top boxes.
* To provide more than Rs 4200 crore for medical studies.
* To allocate Rs 1106 crore for alternative medicine industry.
* To allocate 100 crores to AMU, BHU, TISS-Guwahati and INTACH.
* Government to set up National Institute of Sports Coaches in Patiala.
* To expand private FM radio to 294 cities.
* To auction 839 licenses for FM network to cover all India.
* Government to construct power transmission system from Srinagar to Leh at the cost of Rs 1,840 crore, Rs 226 crore provided in current budget.
* Mobile phones priced more than Rs. 2,000 will see duty raised by 6 percent.
* Extend tax benefit to electrical vehicles.
* A company investing Rs 100 crore or more in plant and machinery in April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015 will be allowed 15 percent investment deduction allowance apart from depreciation.
* SEBI to simplify KYC norms governing foreign investors.
* SEBI will simplify procedures for entry of foreign portfolio investors to invest in India.
* Higher outlay on waste management.
* Government to monitor cost of doing business in India.
* Zero customs duty proposed for electrical plants and machinery.
* Proposal to provide Rs. 800 crore for the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy for generation-based incentive for wind energy projects as the non-conventional wind energy sector deserves incentives.
* Government will provide low interest bearing funds from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) to IREDA to on-lend to viable renewable energy projects. The scheme will have a life span of five years.
* Proposal to set apart Rs. 2,000 crore and asked the National Innovation Council to formulate a scheme for the management and application of the fund.

Coming to semiconductors, the world today is discussing the viability of 450mm fabs. I am well aware that Malcolm Penn has been pushing for 450mm fabs across Europe. I believe that one such fab will cost in the excess of $25 billion, if not more. So, who will invest that kind of money in India? Do we have clean water and 24-hour electricity supply in any state that’s required for such a fab? What will this so-called 450mm fab manufacture? Does the fab have a blueprint in place? Well, have we even addressed any of these questions?

Round-up 2012: Best of electronics, semiconductors and solar

December 31, 2012 2 comments

Friends, here is the round-up of 2012, where the best of electronics, semiconductors and solar PV are presented. Best wishes for a very happy and prosperous new year! :)

Also, a word on the horrendous Delhi rape that has shaken up India. I am ashamed to be a man and a part of India’s society. My family and I are extremely sorry that the brave girl is no more! May her soul rest in peace. May God deliver justice, and quickly!

DECEMBER 2012
Opportunities in turbulent PV equipment market

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence

Next wave of design challenges, and future growth of EDA: Dr. Wally Rhines

Global medical image sensors market to grow 64 percent by 2017

Status of power semiconductor devices industry

NOVEMBER 2012
Global solar PV industry to remain under pressure in 2013!

Dr. Wally Rhines on global semiconductor industry outlook 2013

Focus on monolithic 3D-ICs paradigm shift for semicon industry

Xilinx announces 20nm portfolio strategy

Elliptic intros world’s first commercial touchless gesturing technology!

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Analog Devices

IMEC’s 450mm R&D initiative for nanoelectronics ecosystem

OCTOBER 2012
III-V high mobility semiconductors for advanced CMOS apps

Yet another electronics policy for India?

IEF 2012: Turning recession into opportunity!

Global semicon sales to drop 1.7 percent in 2012?

Virtual prototyping ready for masses

MEMS to be $21 billion market by 2017: Yole

TSMC on 450mm transition: Lithography key!

SEPTEMBER 2012
Cadence Allegro 16.6 accelerates timing closure

Dr. Wally Rhines on global EDA industry

Solarcon India 2012: Solar industry in third wave!

AUGUST 2012
Apple wins big vs. Samsung in patent war!

Can being fabless and M-SIPS take India to top?

JULY 2012
Is Europe ready for 450mm fabs?

APRIL 2012
Xilinx intros Vivado Design Suite

MARCH 2012
Cadence releases latest Encounter RTL-to-GDSII flow

WLCSP market and industrial trends

FEBRUARY 2012
Top 10 semiconductor growth drivers: Intersil

Ingredients for successful fabless Indian semiconductor industry: Dr. Wally Rhines

Tariffs will slow growth in domestic demand for PV systems: The Brattle Group

Wireless leads in global semicon spends!

JANUARY 2012
India to allow imports of low-priced Chinese solar cells? Or, is it beaten?

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence

December 17, 2012 4 comments

Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence.

Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence.

How will 2013 turn out to be for the global semiconductor industry? Will there be growth for the global EDA industry? Importantly, how will the Indian semiconductor industry perform in 2013? I asked Jaswinder Ahuja, corporate VP and MD, Cadence Design Systems India these questions.

Outlook for global semicon industry in 2013
First, how is the outlook for global semiconductor industry in 2013 going to be? Ahuja said: “The long term outlook for the semiconductor industry remains positive, with mobility and cloud computing being the key drivers. The global economy is forecast to grow around 4 percent annually through 2016, according to an April 2012 report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“In its June 2012 report, Gartner predicted growth in electronics and semiconductor industries to outpace that of the world GDP growth, at 5½ percent annually to approach $2 trillion for electronics and 6 percent annually for semiconductors through 2016. So, the semiconductor industry outlook remains very positive overall.

“In the near term, multiple challenges will need to be weathered with respect to the global economic climate, especially in European markets. The JP Morgan/GSA Semiconductor Index of Leading Indicators points to a soft semiconductor industry in 2013. However, there are lot of new products in the mobile and tablet space that are driving demand, such as the iPhone 5, Microsoft Surface, and Samsung Galaxy S III.

“The China semiconductor space is emerging as a key market for semiconductor company revenue, and forecasts predict that it will show rapid annual growth rate. The consolidation and M&A activities that we are seeing in the global semiconductor industry also indicate a positive outlook for the upcoming year.

“In India as well, the semiconductor industry will continue to see growth. The injection of funds and other support outlined in the National Policy on Electronics will provide an impetus to home-grown design and manufacturing, which should start gaining traction in 2013.”

Five trends for 2013
What would be the three or five trends likely to be visible in 2013? Ahuja said Cadence sees five big trends that will drive growth in the near and long term. These are: mobility, application driven design, video, cloud and security.

Probably, the most pervasive change in electronics recently has been mobility. When we talk about mobility, it’s just not about smart phones or tablets, but any kind of device which is mobile. Within the mobile space, software applications help system manufacturers and vendors differentiate themselves and stand apart from the competition. The need to have apps on all kinds of devices is driving rapid growth, as well as placing new demands on EDA companies.

The entertainment industry will be the key driver for video, and as the year progresses, we will continue to see more and more products and solutions introduced to tap into the demand. For the semiconductor industry, video will drive growth both in the end consumer market (mobile platforms) and the enterprise space (networking industry).

In many ways, the backbone to mobility is the cloud. With its network servers and infrastructure, the cloud is what delivers much of the content and value to all of those mobile devices. Statistics show that we need one server for every 600 smart phones and one for every 120 tablets. So there is a big need for data centers which can provide support for all the computing and back-end operations.

Security of data in mobile devices and the cloud will continue to be a challenge in the near future. There will be renewed calls to develop products that can protect critical infrastructure and sensitive information from security breaches.
Read more…

Global semicon sales to drop 1.7 percent in 2012?

October 10, 2012 Comments off

This is a continuation of my coverage of the fortunes of the global semiconductor industry. I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Cowan, an independent semiconductor analyst and developer of the Cowan LRA model, who has provided me the latest numbers.

According to the WSTS’s August (posted Oct. 9th, 2012 on its website) actual global semiconductor sales of $23.013 billion, the updated monthly forecast expectation for full year 2012’s total global semiconductor sales is expected to be $294.6 billion as calculated by the Cowan LRA forecasting model.

This latest update to the 2012 sales forecast estimate corresponds to a year-over-year sales growth expectation of minus 1.7 percent, which dropped from the previous month’s year-over-year sales growth forecast estimate of minus 0.5 percent.

It is also lower than the joint WSTS/SIA Spring 2012 sales growth forecast (published in June of this year) of plus 0.45 percent which corresponds to a global sales forecast estimate of $300.9 billion. Therefore, the model’s latest monthly sales forecast output (based on the just announced August 2012’s actual sales) continues to project even more negative sales growth for 2012 compared to 2011 and has remained negative for the third month in a row.

The model’s previous month’s forecast expectation for August’s actual sales was $24.8 billion as shown in the first table. This forecasted sales number generated last month was much higher than the just published actual August sales of $23.013 billion (larger by $1.76 billion or down 7.1 percent). This results in an M.I. (Momentum Indicator) of minus 7.1 implying that the sales growth trend will be ‘marginally’ down (that is, more negative) over the near term forecast horizon.

Incorporating August’s just published actual sales number into the Cowan LRA forecasting model also produces the latest updated sales and sales growth forecast expectations for the remaining two quarters of 2012 as well as for the four quarters of 2013.

Source: Cowan LRA model, USA.

Table 1: Source: Cowan LRA model, USA.

These results are summarized in the first table. Also provided in the table are the corresponding previous month’s sales and sales growth forecast numbers which were determined last month thereby providing sequential monthly forecast estimate comparisons.

As displayed in the Table 1, the latest projected full year 2012 global semi sales forecast estimate decreased to $294.6 billion from last month’s sales forecast expectation of $298.0 billion, a decrease of $3.5 billion or down sequentially by 1.2 percent. Correspondingly, the updated 2012 sales growth forecast expectation declined to minus 1.7 percent from last month’s sales growth forecast estimate of minus 0.5 percent, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points, still remaining in the negative territory; however, more negative than last month.

Also, next month’s September actual sales forecast estimate is projected to come in at $29.8 billion. Consequently, the resulting September’s actual sales forecast estimate equates to a September 3MMA sales expectation of $25.5 billion which is up from August’s 3MMA sales result of $24.3 billion. It should be emphasized that this forecasted September 3MMA sales number assumes no (or very minimal) sales revisions to either July or August’s actual sales numbers just published by the WSTS.

Additionally, year-to-date cumulative sales for 2012 (total yearly sales through August) came in at $189.5 billion compared to last year’s year-to-date cumulative sales number of $198.5 billion. This equates to a 2012 year-to-date (through August) sales growth result of minus 4.6 percent. This implies that global semiconductor sales for the second half of 2012 must exhibit  significant strength to reach last year’s sales number of $299.52 billion in order that the full year’s 2012 sales growth will break even with last year’s sales, let alone show a mildly positive sales growth for the year.
Read more…

Electronics For You has a new website!


EFY's Website.

EFY’s Website.

Electronics For You, India’s leading electronics magazine, has a brand new website (see image)!

This is a great effort made by the Web development team at EFY Enterprises  as the site was long overdue. This launch also co-incides with Electronics Rocks, an EFY event for design engineers that is taking place today and tomorrow in Bangalore.

The top most block is the Editor’s Choice, consisting of nine entry points, for now, to various stories. There is a smattering of choices – from Solar LED lantern to analog wattmeter, and to SMT components.

Folks, there is a block on Circuit Ideas! It is meant for all of those electronics geeks,who spend hours and hours browsing for new electronic designs and circuits!

Next, there is a block on videos, that runs things like  How to Solder Waterproof LED Strip Light to World’s first Mixed Domain Oscilloscope. This section should be quite captivating!

There are several other sections such as Innovators, Test & Measurement, Microcontrollers, Tech Focus, Interviews, etc. Career Trends is one section that is sure to get lot of hits!

A concern could be too many banner ads on the right, especially with the flash, moving parts, which makes for a really busy site. With two ads next to each other, just feels too busy. However, that’s what generates revenues, so maybe, it is fine!

The Electronics For You website is still in beta. The final version will go live on October 1, 2012. Kudos to the entire team at EFY!

2012’s semicon sales and sales growth estimates $325.5 billion and 6.9 percent!

December 20, 2011 2 comments

This is a continuation of my coverage of the fortunes of the global semiconductor industry. I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Cowan, an independent semiconductor analyst and developer of the Cowan LRA model, who has provided me the latest numbers.

We are into the back end of 2011 with just two more months of global semiconductor sales numbers yet to be announced (by WSTS) in order to “wrap up” and finalize year 2011’s official, overall semi sales result and the corresponding final sales growth compared to last year “cast in concrete.”

Various industry watchers’ sales growth forecast expectations for 2011 are presently ranging from low positive single digits to low negative single digits, including the latest Cowan LRA Model’s sales growth forecast estimate of 2.1 percent based upon WSTS’s October 2011 sales results published at the beginning of December.

Source: Cowan LRA model, USA.

Source: Cowan LRA model, USA.

Therefore, the soon to be released — expected on or about Jan. 5th, 2012 — Nov. 2011 sales number, in conjunction with exercising the Cowan LRA Model’s “look ahead” analysis capability, can definitely shed more insight into the 2011’s final expected sales and sales growth forecast estimates, as well as the updated 2012 forecast numbers.

Consequently, the “look ahead” scenario analysis summary table shown here  nets out the “look-ahead” analysis derived high-level forecast expectations.

Analysis of global semicon industry
It’s that time of the month again; namely, time for a “preview” of next month’s global semiconductor sales forecast updates for both 2011 and 2012 as gleamed by exercising the “look ahead” forecasting capability of the Cowan LRA forecast model “operating on” November’s ‘actual’ sales expectation range.

The soon to-be-announced November 2011 global semiconductor sales result should be relevant in determining the forecasted sales growth expectation for the full year of 2011. In particular, one can ascertain whether 2011 will exhibit positive yearly sales growth for the industry or will it turn negative as a number of market researchers have recently forecasted based upon downward fourth quarter sales guidance updates recently announced by many semiconductor suppliers. Read more…

Update to Cowan LRA model’s global semicon forecast numbers 2011/2012

December 6, 2011 Comments off

This is a continuation of my coverage of the fortunes of the global semiconductor industry. I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Cowan, an independent semiconductor analyst and developer of the Cowan LRA model, who has provided me the latest numbers.

The WSTS posted the October 2011 HBR on Saturday, Dec 3rd, 2011. Consequently, based upon the latest sales numbers availability (through Oct 2011), Cowan has generated updated sales and sales growth forecast numbers for 2011 and 2012 as summarized in the table here:

Sources: WSTS & Cowan LRA Forecasting Model (Dec. 2011).

Sources: WSTS & Cowan LRA Forecasting Model (Dec. 2011).

Major high level result: The forecasted sales and sales growth expectations for both 2011 and 2012 have continued to systematically decrease over the past seven month’s predictions put forth by the Cowan LRA forecast model as highlighted in the table below:

Source: Monthly Cowan LRA Forecasting Model.

Source: Monthly Cowan LRA Forecasting Model.

The following table, given below, summarizes/compares the recent (last two) forecast pronouncements by the indicated forecasters.

Source: Cowan LRA model, USA.

Source: Cowan LRA model, USA.

Read more…

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