Category Archives: Uncategorized

Come for the Tech, Stay for the Analysts

By Dave Mount

At The ConFab 2018, the attendees will be treated to numerous talks on very high level topics that are the principle drivers of the semiconductor industry growth going forward. Subjects such as artificial intelligence, the cloud, virtual reality and quantum computing will be substantially covered during The ConFab keynote talks. Then other important topics will be presented through either panel sessions, or specific talks, such as: advanced packaging, heterogeneous integration, autonomous vehicles, the automotive market segment, advanced memory devices, EUV Lithography in high volume manufacturing, wireless power for implanted medical devices, the potential for artificial intelligence in the semiconductor fab, and the rise of technology foundries. All very interesting stuff, but one of my favorite sessions will be the talks given by the prominent line-up of Industry analysts that will be presenting on the semiconductor industry markets and market sub-segments, semi companies, M&A activities, and regional market dynamics. This year our analyst speakers are: Len Jelinek, Senior Director and Chief Analyst, IHS Markit, who will speak on: “Global Semiconductor Market Trends: Innovative Technologies Provide the Platform of Industry Growth”, Jim Feldhan, President, Semico Research, speaking on: “Emerging Technology Markets Fueling IC Growth”, and Robert Maire, President, Semiconductor Advisors presenting on: “China Chips: Trade, Taiwan and Technology” given the current political climate and threat of a US – China, trade war, this talk is not to be missed. Throughout the course of The ConFab, our three Analyst Speakers will be available to interact with attendees, during the breakfasts, lunches and networking breaks.

New Speakers for The ConFab 2018

By Dave Mount

The ConFab staff is presently lining up speakers and VIPs for our 2018 Agenda/Program and networking event, which will be held May 20-23 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Many different topics have been considered for the talks and keynote addresses, as there are many new drivers and technologies for the semiconductor industry to be considered. Exploring the “Hot” topics, consider that EUV Lithography has been long awaited, but is finally here. George Gomba, VP of technology research at GlobalFoundries, has been working very diligently with the researchers at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, in the CSNE –Albany, and lithography tool suppliers to develop the processes and equipment for EUV lithography. George will deliver a talk on that research program that has finally found its way into advanced semiconductor manufacturing.

Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) is another hot-topic area, where Dr. Kou Kuo Suu, of ULVAC Japan will deliver a talk on manufacturing various types of NVM memory chips, including Phase-Change memory (PCRAM).

Given that there is presently considerable M&A activity in the semiconductor industry: with large companies merging, larger companies acquiring smaller companies, and considerable numbers of start-up companies receiving funding, we have enlisted an old friend and Industry expert, Dan Armbrust, the Founder and director of Silicon Catalyst, the world’s first incubator focused exclusively on semiconductor solutions startups, who will speak on the factors and drivers fueling M&A activities and startup launches.

Smart manufacturing ecosystems based on big data platform, predictive analytics and IoT will be addressed by Tom Sonderman, President of Sky Water Technology Foundry.

We are very pleased to have Rama Divakaruni, an IBM distinguished Engineer deliver the opening Keynote Talk on how artificial intelligence is driving the “new” semiconductor era. In this new era we are seeing a robust Automotive Market Segment for semiconductor devices, a rapidly growing MEMS and Sensors Market Segment, and Advanced Packaging continues to grow in revenue generation and technical importance.

Quantum Computing will also be an important market driver. In the very near future we will be announcing speakers and naming panelists for these very interesting topics. Stay Tuned!

Join Us in 2018!

By Dave Mount

The ConFab 2018 is returning to Las Vegas. The ConFab will be held May 20-23, at THE COSMOPOLITAN of LAS VEGAS, a fabulous property, with state-of-the-art conferencing facilities. Regarding the conference program and agenda, we will be covering a lot of the emerging and leading-edge technologies, and applications that are driving the semiconductor Industry and related industries that are involved with solid-state electronics and device manufacturing.

We will explore, through keynote talks and technology presentations, a lot of the applications drivers for the industry, such as: artificial intelligence, 5G, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, etc. What kinds of chips will be required, and what kinds of equipment and materials will be used in their manufacture? How can we keep everything secure in “smart” devices and systems?

We will also cover current industry/market trends, like the rapid rise of the semiconductor device content in the automotive market segment, MEMS/Sensors/IoT related growth and activities, “More Than Moore” activities related to heterogeneous integration in advanced packaging, new non-volatile-memory applications, optical and silicon photonics applications, and EUV Lithography…. which has finally arrived.

One of the very important features of The ConFab; year-in and year-out, are the talks given by the Industry Analysts. These talks are always a great take-away for conference attendees. For 2018 we will feature an industry analyst speaker on each day (3) of the ConFab.

To quote Pete Singer: “There is a strong need for strategic collaboration across the entire supply chain. Empowering that collaboration is a high priority goal for The ConFab 2018. We do that through private, pre-arranged meetings among interested parties. The ConFab also includes well-attended evening receptions; plus breakfasts, lunches and refreshment breaks. These offer exceptional networking opportunities for people to meet in a relaxed environment.”

We look forward the seeing you at the ConFab 2018!

MEMS, Sensors and IoT Are Focal Points

By Dave Mount

Survey results that will be posted in the March Update to the 20th anniversary 2017 edition of IC Insights’ McClean Report show that eleven (11) companies are forecast to have semiconductor capital expenditure budgets greater than $1.0 billion in 2017, and account for 78% of total worldwide semiconductor spending this year. Bill McClean, of IC Insights, will be delivering a talk at The ConFab, in May, which is certain to include additional insights to this, and other IC Industry forecast data, during his talk. This forecast of only eleven (11) potential customers for the semiconductor supply chain, controlling 78% of the spending, points out very profoundly why The ConFab has expanded the agenda/program to include several other “Small Wafer Technologies”, that very much features the MEMS and Sensors, and IoT markets, that are growing at a high CAGR, and include many new potential customers in the supply chain, that can be served by equipment and materials suppliers that are currently serving the IC industry.

During this year’s sessions we will learn from Dr. Kevin Shaw, CTO/FOUNDER, of Algorithmic Intuition, Inc.; who will be delivering a talk where we will see what MEMS is, how it relates to the semiconductor industry and why it is a critical component for emerging growth. Dr. Shaw will explore examples of new products that are leveraging MEMS and see how old products are being reimagined in a world where sensors are everything. Dr. Alissa Fitzgerald will speak on Next Generation MEMS Manufacturing; where in order to meet the demands of consumer electronics or automotive OEMs, sensors will need to be developed and produced in high volume 200mm wafer facilities. Alissa will share how a generational change in manufacturing is coming, in which high-volume foundries will need to break some of their traditional CMOS process rules or risk missing out on the next wave of growth in MEMS. The ConFab will also feature a Small Wafer Technologies panel session, moderated by Tom Bondur, of Lam Research, which will include panelists from a wide and diverse experience and background in device fabrication, in other solid-state technology manufacturing areas.

New Improvements to The ConFab for 2017

By Dave Mount

We have been very busy making improvements to The ConFab. The new venue at the magnificent Del Coronado Hotel, in San Diego, is proving to be very well accepted, based on the feedback we have been receiving.

The dates (May 14th-17th) of The ConFab have been equally as well received by past Attendees, as well as those that will be attending The ConFab for the first time. It seems that our dates have very little conflict with other conferences and shows, as opposed to the former June time-frame, which is always loaded with competing conferences and trade shows, making The Confab, in May a very desirable event for our attendees.

Regarding the agenda changes and the expansion of the conference an agenda which now will include other closely related semiconductor technologies, such as MEMS and sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT), power devices, LEDs and flexible electronics, we have planned for three-days of topical and highly interesting speakers, talks and panels. These technologies and the related devices will be interesting in their own right, but we will have three different well-known industry analysts providing their insights as to the semiconductor industry, advanced packaging, and the “small-wafer” markets, inclusive of MEMS and sensors, the IoT, power devices, LEDs, etc.

There will be three keynote speakers (one each day) for The Confab 2017. The keynote addresses will cover topics, such as: An overview of the Semiconductor Industry, an Automotive Industry (autonomous vehicles and sensors), and a Manufacturing Challenges keynote.

The hottest topic in the semiconductor industry is packaging. The Confab will dedicate ample time to the topic of Advanced Packaging, with high-level speakers and panels, also featuring an industry analyst for the topic.

The next largest semiconductor-related market is the MEMS and sensors and IoT market. To address this topic I have coined a new phrase…..a “Sub-Keynote” speaker. Our sub-keynote speaker will deliver an excellent overview of this topic. As The ConFab seeks to expand by introducing other “small-wafer” technologies and flexible electronics, we have selected industry respected speakers and panelists to make the introduction and details of these topics. Finally, our manufacturing keynote speaker should prove to be excellent and informative. We look forward to seeing you at The ConFab 2017.

For more details on this exclusive conference and networking event, visit The ConFab 2017 will be held May 14-17 at the iconic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA.

Advanced Packaging to be Highlighted at The ConFab

By Dave Mount

There have been a lot of changes in the semiconductor industry in the last few years. One of these changes has been the shrinking number of IC fabricators, which has been driven by mergers and acquisitions and general attrition. Another is that Moore’s Law has seemingly run out of gas due to delays in the development of EUV lithographic techniques, and the quantum effects manifested in the materials used in the low-nanoscale. Seemingly, the ‘work-around’ used to get past the end of Moore’s Law has been in the chip package.

Packaging has become the hottest topic in semiconductor technology. Presently there is a tremendous body of work being done in both Wafer-level packaging (WLP) and Panel-level packaging (PLP). “Smart” systems are all the rage in advanced packaging where the heterogeneous integration of chips in the same package is increasing becoming commonplace.

Partially being driven by the rapidly developing Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity market, The ConFab will devote a large block of time to advanced packaging. Through talks given by Industry recognized speakers, and interactive panels the important topics of: fan-out/fan-in, wafer-level /panel-level, 2.5D/3D, glass/PCB, and materials/manufacturing technologies will be covered during The ConFab.

By expanding The ConFab to include several of the other related materials and manufacturing technologies, such as MEMS, and others, we will be able to cover much larger areas of interest involving advanced packaging. Since this is such an important topic, we will also include packaging market financial metrics and forecasts. There, of course will be other topical areas covered at The ConFab, but we feel that the Advanced Packaging session alone is reason to sponsor or attend The ConFab.

The ConFab 2017 Expands

The semiconductor industry is rapidly evolving and changing. Consolidations, mergers and acquisitions in the entire supply chain, the end of Moore’s Law (as we knew it), and the success of the foundry model has led us to seek new directions and expansions for The ConFab. Concurrent with our 2017 change in venue from Las Vegas to San Diego, we will be making some changes to The ConFab program. Mainstream semiconductor technology will still be a central focus, but we will be adding speakers, panelists, and VIP attendees from other growing and emerging areas and feature some of the other solid-state device technologies derived from semiconductor manufacturing. This will be from both the device maker and the equipment supplier perspective.

More emphasis will be placed on the MEMS and sensors, power devices, RF and analog mixed-signal, LEDs, thin film batteries, biomedical and other related technologies and markets. The mobile, medical and healthcare, the IoT, automotive, big data, cloud computing, flexible electronics, and virtual reality industries will be of high importance to The ConFab.

With regard to mainstream semiconductor manufacturing, speakers and panels on advanced packaging, including heterogeneous integration, will serve to tie together memory/logic/ASIC semiconductor devices into packages that can include: MEMS, RF, mixed-signal, thin-film battery and other components together, either on wafers or panels. The emerging technologies of silicon photonics and advanced memory, such as phase change and resistive RAM, will become a focus of The ConFab. Our customary speakers on industry forecasts and business directions will still be a part of The ConFab, but will be increased to reflect other markets beyond ICs.

These changes that will be incorporated will allow for the addition of new attendees and VIP’s from the supply chains that serve the other adjacent solid-state technologies and allow for additional private meeting and networking opportunities for current and previous ConFab attendees and sponsors. We will seek to cover as much as possible for every future ConFab, but time is limited. Stay tuned for the program direction for 2017.

David Mount, marketing and business development manager, The ConFab