FOA expands roster, seeks to build on tool exchange

April 24, 2006 – The Fab Owners Association (FOA), a nonprofit group representing largely second-tier semiconductor manufacturers, has added Philips Semiconductors and MagnaChip Semiconductor as voting members. Also joining are seven new associate members, including Applied Mechanical Corp., CAE Online Inc., CIMAC Inc., Entrepix Inc., FabTime Inc., Toppan Photomasks Inc., and Vistec Semiconductor Systems (formerly Leica Microsystems).

The FOA’s devicemaker members currently represent approximately 700,000 200mm-equivalent monthly wafer starts, and about $15.5 billion in annual revenue. Members include AMI Semiconductor, Cypress Semiconductor, Delphi Microelectronics Center, Fairchild Semiconductor, Intersil, Jazz Semiconductor, LSI Logic, MagnaChip Semiconductor, Micrel Semiconductor, ON Semiconductor, Philips
Semiconductors, Spansion, and ZMD AG.

“This organization provides the forum for device makers and suppliers to advance this business model and to find commonalities that can be leveraged through their combined strengths,” stated L.T. Guttadauro, executive director of the FOA.

Among the FOA’s recent projects is an online exchange where members can buy and sell surplus capital equipment, ranging from etchers/ashers to exposure systems and ion implanters, mask and wafer inspection systems, and final test systems.

In a recent interview with SST, Guttadauro noted that the exchange was conceived due to a member’s request after being outbid on a piece of equipment. CAE was brought in as a partner to help manage the online postings, which are free (no commission) and initially available only to FOA members for the first couple of weeks. There were about 50-60 pieces of gear on the site, as of early March, spanning all semiconductor fabrication equipment. Guttadauro noted that the list could include anything from “microscopes all the way to million-dollar alignment tools, whatever people want to buy and sell.”

Guttadauro added that the FOA doesn’t get involved in the actual transaction of equipment, it’s up to the purchaser to have due diligence and assess the gear they’re interested in. Applied Mechanical, another new FOA associate member company, offers services for this — “they’ll take a look, assess, and will help crate it up and relocate to your facility,” he noted.

Initially the FOA cast a series of surveys to gather information about members, including not just basic demographic information but also more detailed process and manufacturing operations data, which could be shared among members to come up with things like best practices (and presumably help with a service like the equipment trading board). Guttadauro noted that this year he hopes to initiate more targeted surveys, such as what level of efficiencies members are achieving on their backend operations, and more specifically automated test equipment setups. The group also hopes to build on a recent announcement of joint purchasing, for things like cleanroom paper.


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