Rohm opens MEMS foundry operation

August 28, 2014 // By Peter Clarke
Rohm Co. Ltd. (Kyoto, Japan) has created a foundry business based at the 6-inch Miyazaki wafer fab of its Lapis Semiconductor subsidiary that integrates product design and manufacturing based on the combination of thin-film piezoelectric processes and MEMS.

The company said it plans to move production to 200mm-diameter wafers.

The processes are suitable for the production of a broad range of MEMS sensors and actuators including accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, inkjet printheads, infrared sensors and cameras, autofocus function in cameras microphones and speakers actuator/nozzle control and energy harvesting systems.

The Rohm processes are based on research led by Professor Isaku Kanno of the Graduate School of Engineering at Kobe University and on the combination of technologies from Rohm and its Lapis and Kionix subsidiaries.

Rohm has contributed non-volatile ferroelectric memory technology; Lapis is providing the manufacturing site and MEMS packaging technology while Kionix brings a MEMS miniaturization capability. Rohm acquired Oki Electric Industry's semiconductor business in 2008 and renamed it Lapis Semiconductor. Rohm acquired Kionix in 2009.

"We have already begun conducting joint development of piezoelectric MEMS products based on customer requirements and gradually expanding our production lines to accommodate growth markets, such as industrial inkjet printers, sensors, and wearable devices. Going forward Rohm will continue to integrate piezoelectric elements with MEMS technology in order to achieve greater miniaturization and energy savings," the company said in a statement.

Rohm's MEMS foundry at Miyazaki is based on a 1,500 square meter clean room running 6-inch diameter wafers with 24-hour operation. Production capacity is approximately 600,000 sensor chips per month rising to 2 million sensor chips per month.

The top four pure-play MEMS foundries ranked in order of decreasing sales in 2013 are TSMC, Dalsa, Silex and Globalfoundries, according market research firm IHS Technology.

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