X-Fab ready for global growth says CEO: Part 2

November 19, 2013 // By Peter Clarke
In the second part of this interview Rudi De Winter, co-CEO of X-Fab Silicon Foundries AG, considers some of the competitive and regional issues affecting X-Fab.

In the first half of this interview De Winter discussed how X-Fab has evolved in the analog and mixed-signal foundry space by moving from 6-inch to 200-mm diameter wafers and by moving into innovative processes such as MEMS and battery-on-silion deposition. But increasingly some of the digital giants of the foundry sector – TSMC, UMC, Globalfoundries – are also offering 'more-than-Moore' processes using their own older wafer fabs. How does X-Fab cope with that level of competition?

"If you look across the total foundry landscape there are many processes but they are not all offered in all market sectors," he said. X-Fab is not playing in the pure digital sector nor does it require the very high volume orders that are normal for the larger foundries. "When it comes to more-than-Moore when you look at the levels of integration for non-volatile memory, for high voltage, across a broad temperature range, I believe we are un-matched," said De Winter. "We also put a lot of emphasis on design support, we invest a lot in models, in PDKs [physical design kits] to give customers the best chance of success. Our NVM IP is developed in house, which is important for the automotive market."


Rudi De Winter, co-CEO of X-Fab Silicon Foundries AG.

De Winter said that in the automotive sector multi-party supply chains are not favored by customers that must control and attest to the rigor of design and manufacturing for safety.

Emphasizing the support to design teams that X-Fab can provide De Winter added: "In MEMS we also have IP blocks and offer pressure and inertial sensor platforms."

X-Fab's sales by major industry sector breakdowns as: automotive 46 percent, industrial 15 percent and communications and consumer about 33 percent. The high automotive tally is largely due to the work done for automotive component company Melexis NV, a sister company that is also controlled by Xtrion. "Melexis is around a third