UMC partners to expand MEMS business

UMC partners to expand MEMS business

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

MEMS foundry APM was founded in 2001 and has its own 6-inch wafer fab. In its early years it was an integrated device manufacturer with an emphasis on pressure sensors and optical components. Since 2007 the company has become an independent pure-play MEMS foundry.

UMC is a silicon CMOS foundry but has increasingly turned to More-than-Moore technologies in recent years as the cost of developing at the leading-edge of geometry reduction has increased. It does offer a 28nm high-K metal gate CMOS logic process.

The two companies now plan to expand their MEMS business together. UMC can provide 200mm and 300mm production facilities while APM can provide MEMS know-how, prototyping expertise as well as 6-inch production capacity, the companies said. MEMS die are not manufactured on 300mm wafers at present because few applications could justify production runs for such tiny components on the largest wafer size.

“UMC has been highly successful in producing MEMS products for microphone, accelerometer and environmental sensor applications,” said S.C. Chien, senior vice president of corporate marketing at UMC, in statement. He added that partnering with APM would allow UMC to serve a wider range of customers targeting the growing Internet of Things (IoT) sector.

The alliance will provide MEMS prototyping and small volume manufacturing from APM while UMC delivers process porting capability for mainstream, volume production MEMS products that are ready to migrate to more productive and cost-effective 200mm manufacturing. “Moreover, customers can combine their MEMS modules with UMC’s advanced 12-inch CMOS fab processes to introduce state-of-the-art MEMS features within an ASIC design,” said Chien, in the statement.

UMC employs more than 17,000 people worldwide and operates 10 wafer fabs in Asia able to produce 500,000 wafers per month.

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