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TI to boost use of proprietary process, fabs

Posted: 20 Jun 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:proprietary process? fab? manufacturing facility? TI analog?

Texas Instruments Inc. is not joining bandwagon of IC vendors shedding manufacturing facilities but would, instead, make increased use of proprietary process technologies and fabs, at least in the analog sector.

"We believe there's great strategic advantage in having our own process technologies, development and manufacturing," said Arthur George, senior VP for high performance analog at TI during the TI Developer Conference for Europe and Israel. "We have some 400 products a year that are kicked off using our own proprietary process technologies."

The event was held in Tel Aviv, Israel and drew more 1,300 participants from Israel, Europe and the United States.

When asked which types of products would be manufactured in-house and which would be outsourced, George replied, "From the analog standpoint, we'll do more and more products inside, and for the digital processing we have a strategy to utilize some outsourcing, in addition to our in-house capacity, and that's unchanged. Today, analog represents about 40 percent of the total TI revenue and growing."

George also stressed the policy of manufacturing analog products inside TI would grow "from a wafer fab standpoint and from an assembly and test standpoint." "He added, "We've spent a lot to build proprietary process technology for products such as amplifiers, power management devices and interface ICs. We have brand new in-house proprietary process technologies for each one of these classes of products. We'll continue to invest more in developing these process technologies."

In the last year or so TI has increased the size of its analog process technology development team by more than 50 percent, according to George. "We have a capacity to produce more analog wafers inside TI, without building another wafer fab. We're using CMOS process technologies for analog, and we'll continue to do so, depending on the product type. Our advanced data converters use more traditional CMOS process technology." George said that TI is now building its largest-ever assembly and test facility, in the Philippines, which will also give it capacity to grow into the next decade. "It will be targeted at some of the fastest-growing products in the industry," George added.

Israeli market
According to Stephen Parks, worldwide director for marketing of analog at TI, having proprietary process technologies optimized for specific designs such as low power and precision helps the company differentiate itself from its competition.

Asked about the company's position in power semiconductors Parks said, "We're the market leader for power management ICs. Our portfolio covers everything from portable electronics power to line power and system power. It includes switching regulators and controllers, linear regulators and controllers and specialty ICs, power interface devices, PoE devices and a whole family of battery management and battery charging ICs."

Parks thinks Israelis have their own approach to engineering. "People look at problem-solving in a different way than perhaps the United States would. We'll say 'here's the product, here's the capability, what can we do with it?' Israelis will say 'here's a problem that a customer has, I need some enabling technology that can help me bring that product to the market.' And the interest in medical technologies here is huge. I'm also meeting with companies that are involved in alternative energy, specifically solar energy, and we'll be involved in this field in the future."

According to Moshe Hillel, country manager for TI in Israel, "There are many specific companies in the 'cleantech' area that we are working with right now. There are also many TI people coming here every year. They work from morning to night and see five or six customers a day. It is no coincidence that we were able to bring to this event at least 1,300 people, who are attending 56 [presentation] slots."

- Amir Ben-Artzi
EE Times Europe

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