X-ray metrology tool producer Bede Scientific made its third profit warning
this year. It says that interim losses will be worse than expected. Sales to
June 30 will be in line with expectations, but this was not sufficient to
cover costs and investments in the short term. The company has had
difficulties converting customer interest into signed orders. Official
figures are due on September 26.
SEMI's book-to-bill ratio for the North American semiconductor equipment
industry was 1.14 in August. Orders came to $1.12bn and billings were
$981mn. These figures represent a 57% increase and a 14% decrease on August
VLSI Research puts August's book-to-bill for the world semiconductor
equipment industry at 0.92. This consists of $2.13bn in bookings and $2.32bn
in completed sales. The sales were 10% down and the bookings 25% up on
August 2001. For IC production, the August book-to-bill is put at 0.92 -
$9.35bn in bookings and $10.19bn in sales. IC capacity utilisation was 86.7%
in August, compared with July's 84.8%.
iSuppli has produced a 2001 league table for ASIC suppliers. Top dog is IBM
with revenues at $2.296bn. Fujitsu is number two with $1.209bn. Third place
goes to LSI Logic with $1.122bn. The top European company was
STMicroelectronics at No.9 with $322mn.
Leica Microsystems Lithography is to deliver an electron beam lithography
system to the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems
(IMS) in Dresden, Germany. The tool will be able to direct write on silicon
wafers and produce photomasks. IMS produces both ICs and microsystems.
Tokyo Electron (TEL) has been appointed sole distributor for Bede Scientific
Instruments products in Japan. TEL will market, sell, install and maintain
the entire range of Bede products for semiconductor applications and for
other markets such as life sciences and pharmaceuticals from October 2002.
The systems will be delivered before year-end
and will be used for advanced inspection of semiconductor packages. The
OVHM4 is a dual detector module combining a conventional image intensifier
and contrast sensitive image detector. The tool is based on oblique view at
highest magnification (ovhm) technology and is capable of generating
multiple angle real-time x-ray images of the same sample with both detectors
offering an infinitely adjustable penetration angle. This allows the
operator to quickly detect failures in interconnects and quantify failures,
such as excessive voiding.
Tower Semiconductor has ordered multiple A400 vertical furnace systems from
ASM International. The equipment will be used in Tower's new 0.18micron Fab
2 foundry. Delivery of the systems has started and will continue during the
next few quarters.
Brooks-PRI Automation has signed a definitive agreement to acquire motion
and machine control technology company Berkeley Process Control. The
purchase will be in exchange for 614,374 Brooks-PRI shares. These shares are
subject to adjustment depending upon the performance of Berkeley in the
quarter ended December 31, 2002. The deal is expected to close by calendar
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Robotic Vision Systems is exploring the sale of its Semiconductor Equipment
Group and has started discussions with a number of interested parties. The
Semiconductor Equipment Group has businesses covering 3-D inspection of
assembled ICs and defects and wafer bump metrology. Discussions have not yet
entered into the price negotiation stage.
Tokyo Electron (TEL) is implementing reorganisation of its software
development division on October 1, 2002. The operations of TEL's Advanced
Software Engineering department will be transferred to Tokyo Electron
Sapporo, a software development subsidiary. Further, the trade name and
other corporate profiles of Tokyo Electron Sapporo will become Tokyo
Electron Software Technologies.
Fairchild Semiconductor has opened a Package and Technology Knowledge Center
in South Korea. The centre will research new packaging materials to improve
thermal and mechanical performance and develop new assembly techniques.
Nanomix has closed a $9mn Series B financing round led by Apax Partners and
Sevin Rosen Funds. The company has integrated nanotube electronics on a
four-inch silicon wafer and performed lab-scale prototyping of a
high-density hydrogen storage system. The company plans to produce chemical
sensors aimed at industrial gas leak detection, medical monitoring and
industrial process control. The leak detection sensors are expected to reach
the market in H2 2003. Nanomix is also developing high-density hydrogen
storage alternatives for the emerging fuel cell industry.
Taiwan memory producers ProMOS Technologies and Powerchip Semiconductor are
following TSMC's lead and have announced plans to build fabs in Mainland
China (Bulletin 450, September 16, 2002).
The Taiwan government has restricted the number to three fabs that can be
built on the Mainland by its local companies before the end of 2005. The
government is also demanding that Taiwan companies build 300mm on the island
and run them at mass production levels before applying for Mainland
Samsung Electronics has announced its 90nm logic process technology, which
will be used to fabricate high capacity memory chips. Samsung is claiming to
be the first company to possess the technology for 90nm. There is a long
list of other companies with 90nm in various stages of development (Bulletin
446, August 19, 2002).
This year's winner of the European Semiconductor Start Up Award has quickly moved from strength to strength and is setting in motion events that are normally confined to more mature companies. David Ridsdale travelled to Dublin and discovered that common sense and a solid plan has provided Xsil with a solid beginning
XinTec of Taiwan has ordered a full production line from EV Group (EVG), including an EVG 640 200mm production mask aligner and an EVG 150 automated resist coating system for advanced wafer level chip scale packaging (CSP).
A EUR3.5mn research program devoted exclusively to OVPD (Organic Vapor Phase Deposition) technology for organic LED (OLED) display applications has been granted by the German Ministry of Research and Education to a group of researchers headed by Aixtron.
Lambda Physik is to invest up to EUR5mn until 2004 in the development of 157nm laser technology for microlithography. Up to 38% of the development and research expenses for the European 157nm microlithography consortion will come from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).