Acquisition sees boom time for semiconductor equipment: Page 3 of 3

July 05, 2017 // By Nick Flaherty
Kevin Crofton, SPTS
Three years after acquisition, Welsh semiconductor equipment maker SPTS is seeing growing opportunities in LED, RF, MEMS and power markets. Kevin Crofton talks to Nick Flaherty about how the deal has progressed.

Future growth

A MEMS microphone in the iPhone 7 cut with plasma dicing from a tear down by SystemePlus Consulting.

These new technologies are deliberately targeting changes in the industry in several areas, he says.

For example, the transition to 7nm will also drive fanout adoption as more devices are pad limited and need the fanout from connections across the chip to the package pins.

There’s also some fundamental market drivers for SPTS customers, particularly in automotive. Autonomous vehicles, advanced driver systems, Lidar, radar and all the sub-systems. “Automotive will, l believe, replace the smartphone for driving LED, power and RF development,” he said.

“Then there’s smart lighting that’s driving companies like Osram, Nichia and Lumentum, they are absolutely booming right now, for homes, for automotive and you don’t hear them talking about TV anymore.”

But being small also helps, he says.

“If you think about RF, power, LED and MEMS, those four areas are on 6in wafers or below on substrates such as GaN and SiC, all those things that a foundry like TSMC doesn’t want to deal with but it’s a perfect scenario for SPTS as it fits into our niche markets,” he said. “Those companies are now buying new equipment and we have always made a business of selling new equipment into these market.”

“We sell all the SPTS technologies into all those markets, we share our product and technology roadmaps with them and have a dialogue about where they want to be 2 to 5 years from now for the performance of their devices. For example, in the MEMS space for a while ST would specify a shape and we would work to provide that, and three years later that product has moved on with a refined shape so we will give process engineering support to get to that new shape – the big companies in this space won’t dedicate the resources to make that happen.”

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