Thursday, February 7, 2013

FAO examines trends in IDM model

USA: Fab Owners Association (FOA) members are meeting this week to examine trends shaping business for the semiconductor industry’s integrated device manufacturers (IDMs). IDMs (semiconductor companies which own all aspects of semiconductor creation, from design through manufacturing, and which produce devices sold under their own label) offer a range of technologies and processes for a variety of today’s critical applications.

Devices are based on proven, mature technologies. According to Joanne Itow, managing director of Semico Research, about 40 percent of all silicon used to produce semiconductors are fabricated using 200mm wafers and manufacturing processes of 0.18micron and larger. It is well within the realm of 200mm and 300mm wafer sizes that most IDMs operate.

“While the fabless semiconductor company model generates the majority of semiconductors, IDMs fill important market segments,” noted L.T. Guttadauro, founder and executive director of FOA.

“A myriad of products rely on the tried-and-true mature manufacturing processes offered by IDMs. This is where IDMs excel. Since they control every aspect of the semiconductor’s design and manufacture, volume manufacturing can be achieved with high quality and reliability at competitive prices. Customers benefit by getting to market quickly with products that don’t carry the risks associated with new manufacturing methods.”

Guttadauro continued: “Two essentials will guide the IDM business model going forward. The first is close collaboration with customers because they help us spot trends. The other key to the health of the IDM business model – and the semiconductor industry as a whole – is close collaboration with suppliers. This set of relationships fixes our focus on issues that are essential to our success and the innovation necessary to achieve it.”

IDMs are essential suppliers of MEMS (micro electro-mechanical systems), power-management devices, solar systems, and semiconductors used in critical systems that can operate reliably in rugged environments.

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