LONDON – X-Fab Silicon Foundries AG (Erfurt, Germany) has said it plans to invest $50 million in its microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) operations, which it will operate under the name X-Fab MEMS Foundry.
The money – to be spent over the next three years – is earmarked for additional cleanroom space, new equipment, R&D and employing staff at X-Fab's Erfurt headquarters where X-Fab MEMS Foundry will be based.
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X-Fab offers bulk and surface micromachined technologies, with and without CMOS integration and technology platforms for applications such as pressure sensors, inertial sensors and infrared sensors. The company manufactures MEMS on 200-mm diameter wafers, which provides leading-edge cost-efficiency.
"Our customers will benefit from the dedicated resources and expertise of a foundry focused solely on advanced MEMS technology, and built on X-Fab's solid foundation of technical excellence," said X-Fab CEO Rudi De Winter, in a statement. "This move is X-Fab's next step towards our goal of becoming one of the top three worldwide suppliers of MEMS foundry services."
X-Fab is a foundry for mixed-signal ICs and MEMS with wafer fabs in Erfurt and Dresden in Germany; Lubbock, Texas and Kuchin, Sarawak in Malaysia. It makes circuits down to 0.13-micron minimum geometries and employs about 2,400 people worldwide and serves applications primarily in the automotive, communications, consumer and industrial sectors.
I think the process for MEMS & CMOS integration is the key to survival of the fabs in order to attract more fabless MEMS startups. There is still healthy market for non-CMOS MEMS but increasingly challenging aspect ratios & real estate will dictate the technology directions for these fabs. They need to supplement this with affordable MPW's.