SkyWater CEO Expands ‘Technology Foundry’ Design

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SkyWater Technological innovation CEO Thomas Sonderman is developing a new sort of chip foundry that shifts onerous multi-billion–dollar fab investments to buyers who bear most of the expense.

The only 100% U.S.-owned foundry was created in 2017 just after private equity trader Oxbow Industries obtained Cypress Foundry Alternatives, a subsidiary of now-defunct Cypress Semiconductor, and mounted previous AMD government Sonderman at the helm of the new enterprise.

By generating a “technology-foundry model, we went after this sweet place of the customization/quantity hole that expected a ton of innovation,” Sonderman instructed EE Times in an special job interview. “It also permitted us to market place ourselves as distinctive than just an additional specialty foundry.”

Sonderman stated he’s pursuing startup consumers that are dismissed by major Asian foundries like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Samsung Foundry. SkyWater also functions with huge gamers like Google, which is creating a new open-source solution to chip style and design.

“The vast majority of SkyWater’s profits has been from ‘technology as a service’ or from clientele with substantial R&D budgets,” Gartner Exploration VP Sam Wang told EE Times. “Recently, SkyWater has available an open up-supply PDK

and MPW [multi-product wafer] products and services, and they are now interesting to quite a few new customers with modest R&D budgets.”

SkyWater also has a crucial consumer in the U.S. Office of Protection (DoD), which has created the organization a trustworthy provider as component of the Defense effort and hard work to generate a secure source chain in the U.S.

Subsequent the Minnesota fab that SkyWater received with the Cypress acquisition, the organization extra an current Florida facility in 2021 and this 12 months announced a new $1.8 billion fab in Indiana. The 1st two fabs make 200-mm wafers, and the Indiana facility may possibly make both of those 200-mm and 300-mm wafers.

SkyWater aims to fill the hole involving ideation of a resolution to a trouble and the realization of that strategy in a actual physical solution, TechInsights vice chair Dan Hutcheson explained to EE Moments.

“They are performing it with a distinctive set of capabilities that have been presently there in Minnesota at a scale compact plenty of to give improved service and be far more cost-productive than a significant-scale foundry,” he stated.

In the next two yrs, SkyWater aims to become a single of a few foundries giving consumers commence-to-complete wafer fabrication and chip assembly in the U.S.

“The objective is to carry the most advanced, heterogeneous-integration engineering to the U.S., beginning on a 200-mm platform,” Sonderman stated. “We’re operating on wafer supporter-out packaging. There’s also a wafer-bonding technology with hybrid bonding technological know-how that we license.”

As Covid locked the environment down, SkyWater began an innovative packaging operation in Florida, TechInsights’ Hutcheson mentioned. “They realized a new know-how from thought to silicon and onto a packaged gadget ready for insertion.”

The notion that a chip foundry really should consider all the chance of investing

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