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Packaging Market update – October 2012 – prepared by A Longford – PandA Europe

October 4, 2012

The worldwide semiconductor market will grow 8% a year through the next nine years, higher than the average of 5.2% annual growth seen in the past 15 years, IC Insights forecasts. The market research firm estimates that IC unit growth will slow to 7% per year, compared with an average 9.5% in the past 15 years, while average selling prices for chips will go up 1% each year, rather than declining as they have since 1996.

TechNavio’s analysts forecast the Global PCB market to grow at a CAGR of 62% over the period 2011-2015. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing amount of electronic content in automobiles. The Global PCB market has also been witnessing miniaturization of PCBs. They also forecast the Global Flexible Printed Circuit Board (FPCB) market to grow at a CAGR of 11.74% over the period 2011-2015. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the demand for FPCB in smartphones. The Global Flexible Printed Circuit Board (FPCB) market has also been witnessing a growing need for FPCBs in the Consumer Electronics segment. However, the increasing production cost could pose a challenge to the growth of these markets.

Flexible circuit shipments in August 2012 were up 1.%, and bookings were down 14.7% compared to August 2011. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments decreased 3.4% and bookings decreased 8.5%. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments increased 0.3% and flex bookings were up 13.8%. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio dropped sharply to 0.87, due to weak orders in July and August.

Revenue for magnetic sensors used in industrial and medical applications came in at $118.2 million last year, a 6% increase from 2010’s $111.9 million, according to IHS iSuppli. Driving the sales growth of these microelectromechanical system devices were renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind power. The market research firm sees the market growing 8% per year to $175.5 million by 2016.

The production of silicon-carbide epitaxial wafers, used to make a variety of devices for applications in power electronics, has been increased by two manufacturers, according to this article. Dongguan Tianyu Semiconductor Technology can make such wafers in diameters of 2, 3 and 4 inches, while Cree is offering 6-inch wafers of n-type doped 4H silicon carbide.

Microsemi has introduced a radio-frequency transistor for secondary surveillance radio applications, used in high-power air traffic control equipment. The 1011GN-700ELM transistor is made with a gallium nitride process on silicon-carbide wafers.

STMicroelectronics last year began shipping microphones based on microelectromechanical system devices to Nokia and is supplying such parts to several notebook manufacturers, says Benedetto Vigna, executive vice and general manager of the chipmaker’s analog, MEMS and sensors group. ST wants to overtake Knowles Electronics, Analog Devices and Akustica as a top supplier of MEMS microphones within two years, he adds.

Opel Technologies Inc. has successfully completed the final tranche of its previously announced $3,000,000 financing through IBK Capital Corp. as agent. The firm, will through its subsidiary Odis, use the funds to further develop its III-V compound semiconductor solar cell technology.

STMicroelectronics has introduced the L3GD20H gyroscope, a microelectromechanical system device that measures 3 by 3 millimeters and 1 mm in height. The MEMS part could be used in sports clothing and equipment, along with inventory tracking equipment, medical instruments, power tools and prosthetics.

Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corporation, has announced that its Long Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics (LFRT) business set new global production records in the third quarter 2012 that will enable it to support the increasing demand for this metal replacement material in innovative automotive, industrial, electrical and electronic, and consumer applications.

TriQuint Semiconductor says it has received a USD 2.7M contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to triple the power handling performance of gallium nitride (GaN) circuits.

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