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X-Fab cranks up MEMS capacities

June 20, 2014 // Christoph Hammerschmidt

X-Fab cranks up MEMS capacities

Accounting for rising demand for sensors across the industry, semiconductor foundry X-Fab is expanding its MEMS manufacturing capacity in its Erfurt and Itzehoe locations. At these locations, X-Fab has is adding clean room facilities with a total area of 2000 square metres (about 21.500 square feet).

Among other MEMS products, X-Fab manufactures pressure sensors, micro mirrors, microphones and microfluidic devices for applications in the automotive industry as well as in mobile devices, consumer goods, medical and industrial environments. According to X-Fab Vice President of Sales, Thomas Hartung, 51% percent of the company's total sales are achieved with customers in the automotive industry, another 12 % goes to industrial branches with close technological proximity to automotive. Customers of X-Fab's CMOS and MEMS manufacturing services also benefit from the company's existing CMOS production capacities.

On its Erfurt campus, X-Fab is setting up a floor space of 1.300 square meters, next to its existing MEMS and CMOS production lines. The new cleanroom will be designed for MEMS volume production of 200mm wafers. First equipment will be hooked up in December. In its much smaller Itzehoe location, X-Fab relocates its MEMS production into a modern new cleanroom which offers a total of 1000 square meters. At this location, X-Fab shares the production equipment with Fraunhofer ISIT, a research institute for microelectronics and microsystems technology. Like in Erfurt, production is done on 200mm wafers. The purpose of the new production line is to expand X-Fab's manufacturing capacities and process options. In addition, X-Fab plans to expand the collaboration with Fraunhofer ISIT. The Itzehoe fab has already been launched on May 28; first tools are already installed.

Hartung declined to specify the expansion capacity in terms of percentage. "MEMS processes and designs are just too different - one product requires just two metal layers and a few simple process steps while others require up to 15 metal layers and are rather complex to produce," he said.

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