SAN FRANCISCOBrazilian government-back chip venture Ceitec S.A. said Wednesday (July 22) it opened an IC design center in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The facility is billed by Ceitec as Latin America's first IC deisgn center. The company said it would add 60 engineers who will design RFID, digital media and wireless communication chips for its delayed fab, which is still ramping for prototyping.
The fab, a 6-inch facility in Porto Alegre, was to begin production last year. But the venture ran into snags in equipping the facility and is now expecting limited production to begin in the first half of 2010. Full volume production is now expected to begin in the second half of 2010.
Brazil has for several years been working toward establishing a domestic IC industry. The Brazilian government has launched a number of programs to establish IC design centers, fabs and assembly plants.
In 2007, Ceitec licensed a 0.6-micron manufacturing technology from X-Fab Semiconductor Foundries AG (Erfurt, Germany).
To help get the venture on track, Ceitec recently recruited former Virage Logic and Soitec executive Eduard Weichselbaumer to serve as president.
"Over the years, many world-class semiconductor professionals have been trained by Brazil's Ministry of Science and Technology and it provides Ceitec with a highly-qualified workforce," Weichselbaumer said in a statement.
The venture is also hoping to repatriate experienced Brazilian engineers and attract the best talent from around the world, Weichselbaumer said.