LONDON – Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) component maker Memscap SA (Grenoble, France) said it has formed a partnership with Hanking Group to expand sales of the MUMPS multiproject wafer service in China. The move was expected (see Hanking starts building Chinese MEMS fab).
The Hanking Group (Shenyang, China), a mining and metal processing conglomerate, formed subsidiary company Hanking Electronics Co. Ltd. in 2010 to enter the semiconductor business as a maker of MEMS. Hanking Electronics is constructing a wafer fab for the manufacture of MEMS in Fushun about 40 miles east of Shenyang.
However, that facility is not expected to be operational before 2014. Prior to that Hanking Group will begin offering training and sales support for the MUMPS multiproject wafer service to design engineers in China. Hanking Group will also focus on MUMPS-plus opportunities where designers are allowed to modify the standard MEMS processes offered under the MUMPS scheme.
MUMPS stands for Multi-User MEMS Processes. It is a program that was originally developed at the University of California Berkeley in the 1980s before moving to Microelectronics Corporation of North Carolina and brought up as a means of providing academics with access to MEMS prototyping. The service was transferred to Cronos Integrated Microsystems Inc. including a wafer fab in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, which was then acquired by Memscap in 2003.
Since 2003 Memscap as offered three standard MEMS processes namely PolyMUMPs, SOIMUMPs, and MetalMUMPs. Memscap is just about to initiate the hundredth MUMPS run and claims that MUMPs has delivered hundreds of thousands of devices to different user groups from the academic, commercial and government sectors worldwide.
The momentum of "outsourcing" to China has never been weaken. As most engineers feel the pain, the more outsourcing; the less job available in their own region. A couple months ago, articles from various media has layout the impact of manufacturing outsourcing. The related R&D activity will be relocated together. No doubt, it is happening. Question is what are the choices for experienced and young engineers. Another questions that I have are whether the engineers in China are ready for the job and what their overall compensation look like.