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EL SEGUNDO, CA — Surprising fourth-quarter weakness in the memory chip market took the wind out of the sails of the global semiconductor market, causing 2007 growth to fall short of expectations, according to iSuppli Corp.

Global semiconductor market revenue grew 3.3% in 2007, iSuppli says, lower than the firm's 4.1% estimate in November.

For the quarter, semi revenues fell 0.5%, but were up 2.4% excluding memory.

Worldwide DRAM revenue fell 19.1% sequentially in the fourth quarter, below the November estimate of a 4.7% drop. NAND flash revenue declined 3.9%. Overall, memory chip revenue fell 11% sequentially.

“This was a complete role reversal for memory semiconductors compared to 2006,” said Dale Ford, senior vice president, market intelligence, for iSuppli. “During the second half of 2006, memory IC revenues helped to prop up the growth of the overall semiconductor industry. In 2007, the poor results for memory chips restrained overall market growth.”

Application-specific standard products and ASICs enjoyed the strongest performance of all semiconductor segments in 2007 with growth of 12.9%. Sony and Toshiba were the key drivers of growth in this segment due to sales of semiconductors for the PS3 game console. Optical semiconductors were up 7.4%, and discretes grew 4.2%. Overall, microprocessor revenue grew 2.1%.
SHANGHAI -- As first reported by Circuits Assembly, IPC and Messe Munchen International have inked a deal under which the two groups will cooperate on an assembly trade show China. No financial terms were disclosed. The announcement was made yesterday by MMI managing director Klaus Dittrich.

The show, Electronica and Productronica China 2009, will be co-located next year with the CPCA Show and Semicon China at the Shanghai International Exhibition Center in Pudong.

The four shows expect to attract 3,000 exhibitors across 130,000 sq. ft. of display space and draw 100,000 attendees.  Read more ...
SAN JOSE — The U.S. Display Consortium today announced a one-year development contract with Optomec to further develop its M3D Aerosol Jet System for printed electronics. The $750,000 cost-shared award will provide Optomec the opportunity to extend its proprietary additive manufacturing technology to a level that has not been possible before through more traditional printing techniques. 

The USDC is a public/private partnership chartered with developing the flexible electronics and displays industry supply chain.

Under the agreement, Optomec will focus on developing a printing platform for next-generation devices, such as high-density circuitry for printable electronics, displays and photovoltaic cells.  The new printing system will use a multi-nozzle aerosol jet deposition that eliminates the need for screens or stencils required by traditional contact deposition processes, while enabling much finer resolution (4 µm widths). The additive process is said to reduce environmental impact by minimizing waste and chemicals that are part of traditional manufacturing processes. 

“The USDC project will build on Optomec's existing printed electronics solution, which is already gaining traction in the production of more efficient solar cells, embedded sensors and life science devices,” said Optomec president David Ramahi.  
SINGAPORE -- Flextronics has completed the acquisition of the design and services groups of Arima Computer's notebook and server businesses.

The EMS company's two-phase plan next calls for the April acquisition of Arima's notebook and server manufacturing facility in WuJiang, China.
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SHANGHAI -- BTU International officially opened its Photovoltaics Process Technology center here, the first of two such plants the company will launch.
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ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA -- A Russian news site is reporting a top Foxconn official acknowledged that company's plans to expand in St. Petersburg but declined to provide specifics.

According to CNews today, Foxconn Rus director general Andrey Korzhakov said the EMS company is a development center in Novo-Orlovsky.

As reported by Circuits Assembly, the company bought 12 hectares of land outside the St. Petersburg suburb of Kolpino last month on which it plans to build a PC assembly plant.
PENANG -- Motorola is fighting allegations it broke Malaysian laws and engaged in kickbacks in exhange for large government contracts. The company and key government officials are strongly disputing the accusations, which have been brought by political opponents.

At issue is a roughly $313 million government contract the Malaysian government contract awarded to Motorola, with the understanding the telecom giant would remain in the country. Motorola has extensive manufacturing and R&D operations in Malaysia, where it employs about 10,000 workers, including 4,000 in Penang. Read more ...
WASHINGTON -- A pair of provisions of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 signed into law Feb. 13 by President Bush provide significant benefit to manufacturing companies.

The new law nearly doubles the amount of deductible Code Sec. 179 expensing for 2008, to $250,000, and increases the threshold for reducing the deduction to $800,000. It applies to property purchased and put into service in the tax year beginning in 2008. This would benefit businesses purchasing equipment.

The law also provides a temporary bonus depreciation aimed at encouraging business investment. Property must be eligible for the modified accelerated cost recovery system, with a depreciation of 20 years or less, and must be purchased and placed in service during 2008. The new law provides taxpayers a 50% first-year bonus depreciation of the adjusted basis of the property.
BRUSSELS -- A consultant for the  European Union has identified more than 45 substances not currently covered by RoHS laws for possible inclusion in new draft rules expected to be ready next month.

The EU review of the RoHS Directive could lead to an expansion of the scope of covered substances and the list of covered electronics, industry sources say, and some current exemptions could be revoked.

Read more ...
GLENVIEW, IL – Illinois Tool Works’ power systems and electronics group reported sales rose 6.1% year-over-year for the period ended Feb. 29. Meanwhile, speculation abounds over a possible acquisition of a leading soldering equipment OEM.

 

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LONDON -- EMS provider TT Electronics reported earnings rose 7% last year on a 1% hike in sales for the year ended Dec. 31.

Pre-tax profits from continuing operations were up 6.7% to £33.3 million, before one-time profits in 2006. Sales hit £544.9 million.

The company cautioned for the 2008 outlook. “While current trading is expected to remain overall similar to 2007, the further reorganization of operations, difficulties in the credit markets and concerns as to the effect on the global economy causes the board to take a cautious view for the current year,” said executive chairman John Newman.

During the year, TT's pension fund deficit was reduced to £17.4 million from £72.6 million a year ago.
SCHAUMBURG, IL -- Misumi USA will conduct a series of configuration technical seminars in Texas next month. The four-hour seminars are on designing machines faster with configurable components and are designed to help engineers overcome time and performance pressures typically associated with custom machine builds.

The series takes place April 1, at the Hilton Houston Southwest; April 2, at the Hilton Austin Airport; and April 3, at the Hilton Arlington.

Misumi manager of product development Mike Melone, an experienced engineer of configurable components, will present.

To register visit www.misumiusa.com/techseminars.aspx.


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