The June issue of “Imec Magazine” (http://magazine.imec.be/data/36/reader/reader.html#preferred/1/package/36/pub/42/page/6) features an article by Steve Beckers, general manager of a new imec program called ICLink. It’s a must-read for anyone who thinks that semiconductor manufacturing can be relegated to dedicated fabs or that there’s no money to be made in foundry services.
Beckers points out that the intense complexity of chips will confine dedicated fabs to those companies with high volumes. Meanwhile, companies supplying chips for markets with lower volumes – medical/lifestyle, automotive, industrial, and others – need lower volumes. Beckers says these are ASIC companies. But there are other companies that fall into the same category of low-volume semiconductors. In other words, there are plenty of companies that focus on markets that are called low-volume, but which really offer high ASPs because the chips delivered are tailored to specific functions.
His premise may be a scenario we already understand: big companies with the highest volumes get the most attentions from dedicated foundries; specialty processes drain valuable time on the manufacturing line and, possibly, to delivery; and, increasing complexity will continue to be the badge of mobile electronics. However, the premise is not the take-away of the article. His point is that ASIC companies and others with smaller volumes will need manufacturing services. Imec will be one source for assisting.
And my point is that IDMs are another.
IDMs can leverage their manufacturing by wisely managing their fabrication facilities, and by offering foundry services to those companies who have brilliant solutions for new and existing markets with high demand. And there are many of those.
Read Beckers’ commentary. He says a lot in a short space. It’s fodder for anyone looking to expand their business.
~Barbara Kalkis, Maestro Marketing & Public Relations, 11 June 2014