LONDON – German foundry X-Fab Silicon Foundries AG has increased its holding in MEMS Foundry Itzehoe GmbH from 25.5 percent to 51 percent and renamed the company as X-Fab MEMS Foundry Itzehoe. The move is part of a focus on MEMS manufacturing services and technologies at X-Fab (see X-Fab pledges more money to making MEMS).
X-Fab (Erfurt, Germany) did not say how much they had spent to acquire the additional 25.5 percent stake. The Itzehoe fab was set up to manufacture on 200-mm diameter wafers and has an annual manufacturing capacity of about 100,000 wafer starts, according to Thomas Hartung, vice president of marketing at X-Fab. In email correspondence with EE Times Hartung said X-Fab values the wide variety of different technical capabilities the Itzehoe fab can add to the X-Fab offer. This includes the ability to process noble metals including gold, platinum, chrome, nickel, copper and molybdenum, piezeoelectric materials, thick epi-silicon micromachining and eutectic bonding.
Under the deal X-Fab MEMS Foundry Itzehoe will continue its long-term cooperation with the MEMS group at the Fraunhofer Institute in Itzehoe. The Itzehoe site complements MEMS capabilities at X-Fab's fab in Erfurt, adding technologies for actuators, micro-optical structures and hermetic wafer-level packaging.
"Our customers will benefit from both an even wider spectrum of available MEMS technologies and from direct access to X-Fab's manufacturing facilities for CMOS-compatible MEMS processes," said Hartung in a statement.
I like this move...instead of going down with Moore's law in CMOS which is very costly it is better for a company like Xfab to go lateral and acquire MEMs business...however, I wonder what is the stage of standardization in the MEMs space, last time I looked everyone had a different process, the MEMs manufacturing eco-system needs to become more vanilla like CMOS in the 70-ies