MOSCOW Russian chip manufacturer JSC Mikron (Zelenograd, Russia) is pushing ahead with its cooperation with STMicroelectronics NV (see July 2006 story). It plans to qualify the 0.18-micron CMOS process it is importing by the end of 2007 and begin mass production in 2008.
Mikron, a classic example of how Russian technical chip capability has stagnated in the 1990s, now plans to leap forward four or five manufacturing generations. It is currently manufacturing using 0.8-micron design rules, more or less the same level is has been at for a decade or more. With ST providing a logic and EEPROM manufacturing process, the company is continuing with a fresh start that has been going on for a couple of years.
Mikron is now part of Sitronics, a communications equipment company and consumer brand in Russia, which has plants in Athens, Prague and Kiev as well as in Zelenograd. Sitronics is in turn controlled by Sistema, one of Russia's biggest corporations said Andrei Golushko, deputy marketing director of Mikron. And Sitronics has already invested $200 million in Zelenograd, said Golushko.
And Mikron has a definite plan for the chips its wants to manufacture using the process.
Golushko said Mikron is involved in an e-passport project with the Russian government. It also has experience manufacturing for smartcards and subscriber identification modules (SIMs) found inside mobile phones. There are also plans to work on an RFID project with the Moscow Metro., which is used by more than 10 million people per day.
Mikron parent Sitronics has cultivated partnerships with Gesiecka and Devrient on smart cards and with Infineon Technologies AG (Munich, Germany) on chip modules and encapsulation. A joint venture with G&D called KCK was founded in 2005, began production in March 2006 and achieved 40 million euro of revenue in 2006, according to Golushko. It has a capacity of 30 million cards per year, he said.
Mikron now intends to introduce a new process generation every year, following up its 0.18-micron introduction in 2007 with 130-nm and 90-nm in 2008 and 2009 respectively, according to Golushko.
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