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Sep 10th, 2008
Dalsa seeks MEMS foundry partner; TSMC, UMC and APM potential candidates
Dalsa Semiconductor is seeking a foundry partner for its micro electro-mechanical system (MEMS) device production. Among all major foundries that have MEMS deployment in Taiwan, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and its affiliate Asia Pacific Microsystems (APM), are all potential candidates.
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Claude Jean, vice president and general manager, at Dalsa indicated that the company aims to expand into the MEMS market via forging partnerships with Taiwan-based foundries, given that Taiwan foundries have accumulated rich experience from CMOS process production over the past decades. A complete supply chain that includes backend production is also a major contributing factor to favoring Taiwan. Dalsa has maintained a certain amount of its MEMS device production in house. The company estimates that its current wafer-starts average about 16,000-20,000 6-inch wafers per month. Jean indicated that customers have raised concerns about sufficient capacity, as demand will pick up considerably one MEMS penetrates into the consumer electronics market.

This is one of the driving forces pushing Dalsa to find a foundry partner, Jean explained. Jean indicated that this is the first time for Dalsa to look for a MEMS foundry partner in Taiwan. Discussions are expected to be made with TSMC, UMC and APM.

Jean indicated that Dalsa allots about 85% of its 6-inch fab capacity for MEMS devices and foundry orders for high-voltage processes while the other 15% is for high-resolution CMOS image sensor and charge-coupled device (CCD) sensor production. The company plans to introduce 8-inch wafer fabrication tools in 2009. Jean stresses that Dalsa has no urgency to rush into MEMS device production on 8-inch wafers since only up to 20% of MEMS devices will be made using 8-inch wafer tools in 2009.


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