Top articles in January on eeNews Europe

Top articles in January on eeNews Europe

Feature articles |
By Nick Flaherty

The increasing amounts of capacity in the semiconductor industry has dominated the interest in January. TSMC’s 3nm fab for Intel at a new site just north of its plants in Hinchu, Taiwan, is a key step forward, and was ahead of Intel’s own announcement of plans for a $20bn fab in Ohio, again a new site for the company.

Before that capacity comes online in 2024, the industry will see significant upheaval though, warns analyst Malcolm Penn of Future Horizons. His view that the current cycle will come to an end by the end of 2022 or early 2023 was in contrast to other predictions that the market has fundamentally changed and past cycles are not an accurate guide of future direction. But both still see the market reaching $1tn by 2030.

The chip shortage has highlighted the need for local supply of critical components, and the European Union (as well as the US) has identified silicon wafers as a critical part of the supply chain. The US analysis of the industry that identified under five days of inventory also highlighted the need for a reliable source of wafers.

ASML was hit by a fire at one of its factories in Berlin, although further investigation showed there was not the expected impact on the shipment of optical components for extreme UV lithography equipment for leading edge process technologies. The chip shortage has highlighted the vital role of ASML, with a bumper year in its annual results and the first order for a new class of lithography system for Intel.

AMD’s $35bn deal to buy FPGA designer Xilinx was delayed at the end of last year but has now received approval from the Chinese authorities and looks set for completion in the next few weeks.

Also of interest was the shipment of a board with a new ARM security processor. The Morello board is the first implementation of the CHERI security architecture that could well see a fundamental change in the way processors are designed.

One company that has lined up capacity for it microcontrollers was Raspberry Pi. The company is now offering its own silicon in reels on the Internet with a credit card.

Semiconductors are of course increasingly vital for the automotive industry, and Bosch is responding by splitting its automotive software business.

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