From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  Costly shift to new wafers [Times Union, Albany, N.Y.]

[April 05, 2012]

Costly shift to new wafers [Times Union, Albany, N.Y.]

(Times Union (Albany, NY) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 05--ALBANY -- Not everyone is excited about efforts at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to start making computer chips on larger silicon wafers.

That lukewarm feeling extends to companies that make the wafers.

In their continuous efforts to drive down costs, computer chip companies want to make their products on 18-inch, or 450 millimeter, silicon wafers -- a move that would significantly increase output and profit margins at their factories compared to using the 12-inch, or 300mm, wafers that are the standard today.

The switch, which has been debated by the industry for years, now appears inevitable after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an international consortium based at the NanoCollege on Fuller Road that will lead the move to 450mm wafers.

The consortium, composed of Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., Samsung, IBM Corp. and GlobalFoundries, is expected to attract billions of dollars in research spending and create thousands of new jobs.

The state is putting $200 million toward the first phase of the project, a commitment that includes $50 million in cheap power, while the industry has committed $825 million, a number that will almost certainly increase.

But it's also putting a lot of pressure on the companies that supply computer chip factories, which will have to make big investments in new equipment to adapt to these larger wafers.

And the suppliers most directly impacted by this shift are the wafer manufacturers -- companies like MEMC Electronic Materials outside St. Louis.

Bruce Kellerman, a product marketing executive with MEMC, spoke about the impact of the move to 450mm Wednesday at the NanoCollege at a forum held by SEMI, a Silicon Valley-based trade group that represents computer chip factory suppliers.

Kellerman said the wafer industry has been hurting lately, consolidating manufacturing operations and laying off workers amid poor financial results.

And a shift to 450mm wafers will require new spending without any financial return until the new wafer size becomes standard -- a transition that could take 10 years.

"It's a real challenge for us," Kellerman said. "We're basically going to be losing money until this reaches maturity. It's an ugly scenario." Michael Liehr, vice president of research at the NanoCollege, is in charge of leading school's 450mm effort, known as the Global 450mm Consortium, or G450C. He said the consortium has issued a request for qualifications to companies that want to supply a 450mm pilot manufacturing line that will be housed at the $365 million NanoFab Xtension building under construction on Washington Avenue Extension.

About 100 "tools" -- the large machines that process wafers in chip factories -- are being sought for a pilot line that's expected to become operational in 2015. Responses to the RFQ are due later this month.

Moving to 450mm manufacturing is critical to the chip industry if it wants to continue to grow. For decades, the industry has fueled its explosive growth and profit margins by cramming more and more transistors onto each chip and by shrinking their size.

But as scientists reach the physical limits of doing this, the industry must find new ways of fueling profitability. Using larger wafers is one solution, since roughly double the number of chips can be produced in the same amount of time and for less money than using the 12-inch wafers. The problem is that the cost is so high to build a 450mm factory that fewer than 10 chip companies are expected to be able to afford the transition, which is why the G450C is using a cost-sharing model. --518-454-5504 --@larryrulison ___ (c)2012 Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) Visit Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner

Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.