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Silver lining for Japanese fabs

Posted: 10 May 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fabs? MEMS? fabless?

Future Horizon's Penn suggests IMEC to serve such needs. Itow countered that IMEC isn't exactly viewed as a production fab. "But they would certainly be an option for process development and R&D," she said. Other options, suggested by Itow, include the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at (CNSE)'s Albany NanoTech Complex.

MEMS manufacturers?

If not pure-play foundries, MEMS manufacturers could be among the candidates looking at old fabs in Japan. Itow said, "MEMS manufactures are beginning to take advantage of larger wafer sizes, i.e. moving from 6-inch wafers to 8-inch wafers."

One good example is Kionix who is a MEMS company and already owns a fab in Japan.

MEMS companies could move from fabless to fab-lite, Itow pointed out. Alpha Omega Semiconductor is an example that changed strategy from fabless to fab-lite. The company specialises in discrete/power IC products and until last year primarily used HHNEC. "In 2011, Alpha Omega purchased a 16-year-old fab in Oregon from IDT. They are now classified as a fab-lite company," she added.

As for Fujitsu Semiconductor, the company completed the transfer of its Iwate Plant to Denso Corp. last fall. Fujitsu's assembly lines in Aizu, Miyagi and Kyushu were transferred to J-Devices Corp. last December. Fujitsu's 300mm wafer lines in Mie remain unsold, currently in "deliberation on transfer to a new foundry company, including TSMC," according to Fujitsu.

Renesas' fab locations as of 2011

Meanwhile, Renesas, even after announcing production structural reforms, will still have seven sites and nine lines left for its front-end production; and two sites for back-end.

Renesas High Components, a back-end production site in Aomori, was transferred to Aoi Electronics Co., Ltd. in January. Three other back-end process sites 每 including Hakodate, Fukui and Kmamoto 每 are being sold to J-Devices in early June.

While Renesas has not spelled out which sites 每 among those left 每 will be targets for the "transfer, closure and streamlining" of its production scales, the Japanese company said earlier this year that it plans to reduce depreciation cost and lease fees for the fiscal year ending March 2014 by approximately 25% from the fiscal year ending March 2013 and approximately 35% from the fiscal year ending March 2011.

- Junko Yoshida
??EE Times

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