As a leader in electronic component distribution and a supply chain partner to thousands of customers around the world, Sensible Micro always stays on top of the latest news and events in our industry. Here are some recent stories that caught our eye.
SMTC Corporation plans exit out
Despite being in the Chinese market for over a decade, SMTC Corporation, a leading electronics manufacturer, is planning to terminate manufacturing operations in China as the lease on their facility in Dongguan, China expires this December (2019). The conclusion of their lease agreement is not the only reason for their exit out of China; a decline in revenue and customer concerns regarding the ongoing trade and tariff disputes have negatively affected business for SMTC.
“Customer concerns about uncertainties relating to the prolonged impact of tariffs and macro-economic factors have caused a number of our customers to begin to re-evaluate demand for some of their products and reconsider where they outsource their manufacturing,” says SMTC’s President and CEO, Ed Smith.
Following their Chinese exit, SMTC intends to shift their focus onto North America, with the hopes of being able to provide their customers 'quick-turn' manufacturing.
"We believe our expanding North American operations provide a strong foundation for continued growth,” commented Smith.
Semiconductor Acquisitions have Regained Momentum
Semiconductor merger and acquisition activity picked up this year significantly in comparison to years prior. During the first eight months of 2019, roughly 20 M&A agreements, equating to about $28 billion USD, occurred before the end of August. These M&A announcements were driven by strong-growth market factors, such as networking & wireless connectivity IC deals and suppliers adding products for automotive systems. The $28B accrued as a result of mass purchasing, garnered mainly from buyouts of chip companies, wafer fabs, business units, product lines, and IP. Other factors that have added to the insurgence of M&As include companies selling off aspects of their businesses in efforts to refocus and restrategize. Of the 20 announcements made thus far, about six of them were valued at more than $1B USD, representing 89% of the M&A total this year.
According to the most recent update of 2019 McClean Report, provided by IC Insights, “...the dollar value of semiconductor acquisition agreement announcements in the first eight months of 2019 surpassed the $25.9 billion USD total for all of 2018 and was close to topping the value in 2017.” Although we cannot predict how many more acquisitions agreements and announcements will be made between now and the end of the year, we can safely assume that the numbers of 2019 will exceed those of 2017, making this year the third largest ever for semiconductor M&A agreements.
Lite-On Sells SSD Business to Toshiba Memory
Lite-On Technology has officially confirmed that it is selling its solid state drives (SSD) business for $165M USD to Toshiba Memory Holdings Corporation. This sale comes as a benefit to both businesses; it allows Lite-On to move forward in its efforts to shift their focus onto cloud computing, LED lightning, automotive electronics and industrial automation while strengthening Toshiba's SSD business.
Toshiba Memory, soon to be become Kioxia Corp., believes that this purchase will boost their current SSD business.
“Lite-On’s solid-state drive business is a natural and strategic fit with Toshiba Memory and expands our focus in the SSD industry,” said Nobuo Hayasaka, the president and CEO of Toshiba Memory. “This is an exciting acquisition for us, as it positions us to meet the projected growth in demand for SSDs in PCs and data centers being driven by the increased use of cloud services.”
The acquisition will transfer all aspects of Lite-On's SSD business operations and assets, from inventory and IP to personnel and client/ supplier relationships, to Toshiba Memory. It will be an all-cash deal and is expected to be completed April 2020.
New Product Announcements and Releases
1. Vishay Intertechnology's New Proximity Sensor
The Optoelectronics group of Vishay launched a new proximity sensor this month- the Vishay Semiconductors VCNL3040. The sensor offers a sensing distance of up to 30 cm with a programmable interrupt function and it supports the I²C bus communication interface. The notable feature of this new sensor is its object and collision detection, making it suitable for numerous consumer and industrial applications.
2. TDK's CUR 423x – TMR-Based Closed-Loop Sensor
The CUR 423x – TMR-Based Closed-Loop Sensor was created with high-current coreless applications in mind. The sensors are based on linear, closed-loop TMR technology, which means they “feature non-intrusive, galvanically isolated contactless current measurement.” Their main applications include stationary battery management and xEV battery monitoring.
3. TE Connectivity's STRADA Whisper R Connectors
TE Connectivity introduced its STRADA Whisper R backplane connectors on 9/12/19. The new connectors were created to make future data center system upgrades easier. Due to their innovative design and fully-automated assembly process, the new connectors are more cost-effective than ever before.
Features and benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Proven 56 Gbps connector
- Simple upgrade path
- Best-in-class EMI performance
- Flexible design options
- Skew-less design without cancellation tricks
- Low crosstalk noise
4. NXP's MC9S08PLS 8-bit Series
NXP Semiconductors introduced its new 8-bit MC9S08PLS microcontroller (MCU) series. The series is cost-effective and has competitive, robust features that make it perfect for common industrial and consumer applications. As described by NXP, “The MC9S08PLS series belongs to the 5V S08P MCU family, which is designed to provide industrial devices more durability and reliability in harsh environments.” The target use-cases for the MC9S08PLS series would be in consumer applications or in general, low-power applications such as smoke detectors and small appliances.
Molex Collaborated with Cisco & Ixia at ECOC 2019
Molex collaborated with Cisco and Ixia, for this year's European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC 2019). The conference, which occurred last week, was held in Dublin, Ireland. The companies demonstrated ‘Ethernet signal between the Cisco N9K-C9316D-GX switch and Ixia A400GE-QDD’ and used Molex’s QSFP-DD technology. Demonstrating the performance of Molex DACs, ACCs and other optics also showed-off the capability of a 400 Gbps system.
Scott Sommers, director of industry standards at Molex, expressed his excitement about the collaboration saying, “We are pleased to be again collaborating with Cisco and Ixia, which allows us to continue reinforcing our commitment to providing the best in class services and products from Molex to the data center industry.”
ECHA's New SCIP Database
Earlier this month, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published new information requirements for “articles with high-interest material (SVHCs)”, which will be housed in a brand new database. These new requirements, along with additional information about concerning substances, will be published in the SCIP database starting 1/5/2021.
The SCIP database was born out of new requirements regarding the current Waste Framework Directives. The new requirements will make suppliers of SVHCs on the Candidate List report their “safe use to ECHA and use the SCIP database to notify of its presence.”
Additionally, the new database will give waste operators all the information they’ll need about dangerous waste materials. The intention behind this is to ‘clean up’ material flows before they get recycled and reused in the manufacturing of new items. With the ECHA playing a large role in the EU marketplace, it is important to stay up-to-date on updates and changes to all their policies & standards.