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JACKSON, MI – EMS provider Sparton Corp. reported sales for the fiscal third quarter of 2008 totaled $58.14 million, up 21.8% year-over-year.
 
The company reported net income of $634,000 for the third quarter, compared to a net loss of $2.29 million last year.
 
An operating loss of $424,000 was reported for the fiscal third quarter, compared to an operating loss of $3.69 million in the same quarter last year.
 
Medical/scientific instrumentation sales increased $4.28 million from last year, partially a result of new customer programs, the firm said. In addition, higher demand from three existing customers contributed $3.44 million of the increase.
 
Aerospace sales were up $2.8 million from prior year in part because of increased sales to an existing customer of $1.07 million.
 
Government sales continue to be significantly above 2007, with an increase of 80.9%, as a result of sonobuoy testing. However, industrial/other sales declined $2.4 million because of lower demand from one customer.
 
Sales for the nine months ended March 31 totaled $171.9 million, up 15.3% from the same period last year.
 
The company reported a net loss of $2.65 million for the fiscal year to date, versus a net loss of $6.14 million for the corresponding period last year.
 
Medical/scientific instrumentation sales increased $12.2 million. Aerospace sales were up slightly from prior year, primarily due to increased sales to one existing customer of $1.77 million.
 
Government sales for the period increased 92.9% year-over-year. Industrial/other sales declined $11.12 million.
 
MANASSAS, VA – Zestron has further expanded its sales and technical support organization in Asia/Pacific.
 
Tiow Ping Sim has recently joined the team as South Asia sales manager. Located in the company’s new office in Singapore, Sim will manage the local distributor network and support local customers.
 
Sim graduated in mechanical engineering from the Queensland University of Technology and has more than 15 years’ experience within the SMT and Semicon industries.
 
In addition, Steven Goh will support customer cleaning process selection, implementation and optimizations, as part of the application technology team.
SINGAPORE -- Flextronics became a little more vertical, completing its acquisition of the FRIWO Mobile Power business unit of CEAG AG. FMP makes power supplies and chargers for mobile phones, and has 18,000 employees and 700,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing capacity in China.

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ – The PC microprocessor market is heading for an inflection point in late 2008 or early 2009, when, for the first time, the number of microprocessors shipping for notebook PCs will exceed those shipping for desktop PCs, reports In-Stat. Read more ...
SAN JOSE – Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments remained essentially stable in the first quarter of 2008, marginally declining 1% sequentially, according to SEMI.
 
Total silicon wafer area shipments were 2.16 billion sq. inches for the quarter. Compared to the same quarter last year, total area shipments increased 3%.
 
"Consistent with the conservative industry sentiment, overall silicon shipments declined slightly during the most recent quarter,” said Kazuyo Heinink, chair of SEMI SMG and vice president at MEMC Electronic Materials. ”However, 300 mm wafer shipments continued to grow.” 
NEWARK, NY – EMS provider IEC Electronics Corp. has signed a letter of intent to acquire Val-U-Tech Corp., a privately held supplier of wire harness assemblies in Victor, NY. No financial terms were disclosed and a fiscal third-quarter closing is expected.
 
Val-U-Tech has annual sales of about $11 million and supplies military, medical and industrial customers.
 
The combined companies will have 360 employees with revenues in 2009 of approximately $70 million. The combination will be accretive to IEC shareholders.
 
The transaction is subject to shareholder approval.
 
UTICA, NY – Indium Corp. named Sherwin Kobak regional sales manager, responsible for soldering product sales throughout Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
 
Kobak is based in Portland, OR, and has 16 years’ experience selling PCB assembly products and specialty metals.
 
Separately, Indium promoted Karl Pfluke to senior account manager, Metals & Chemicals. He is responsible for sales in North America, with primary focus on the solar energy market. Pfluke is certified by MPIF as a powder metallurgy technologist and by SMTA as a process engineer. He joined Indium in 2001 as a technical support engineer.
 
Indium is a materials supplier to the global electronics assembly, semiconductor fabrication and packaging, solar photovoltaic, and thermal management markets.
EL SEGUNDO, CA – Following a miserable 2007, the global DRAM module market is expected to rebound gradually in 2008 as a result of projected recovery in the overall memory industry, iSuppli Corp. predicts.
 
Global revenue from third-party shipments of DRAM modules, i.e., components that contain DRAM chips for use in PCs and other electronic products, is expected to rise to $8.9 billion in 2008, up 9.4% year-over-year. In contrast, third-party DRAM module revenue declined 33.5% last year compared to 2006.
 
Third-party refers to companies dedicated to the memory module business, and that do not sell DRAM itself, or the end-products memory is used in, such as PCs. The major business of third-party module suppliers includes aftermarket upgrade module sales, module sales to white-box PC makers, and contract module manufacturing for OEMs or suppliers.
 
“Last year was disastrous for the DRAM chip industry due to an acute oversupply and the resulting price plunge. This caused global DRAM chip revenue to decline by 7.3%. The poor conditions in DRAM chips led to even worse conditions in the DRAM module business. The third-party DRAM module makers bore the brunt of the downturn because they lost market share to their chip suppliers,” said John Lei, analyst, memory/storage IC systems for iSuppli.
 
“Looking at the Top-10 third-party DRAM module maker rankings for 2007, there were two groups of companies: those able to keep their heads above water, and those swamped by the market-downturn deluge,” Lei said.
 
Market winners included leading supplier Kingston Technology Corp., which managed to increase its DRAM module revenue by 1.1% last year. And while No. 2 Smart Modular Technologies suffered a 3.5% decline in revenue, the company still outperformed the overall industry, allowing it to expand its market share for the year to 7.9%, up from 5.5% in 2006.
 
Kingston and Smart did well because they maintain full spectrums of DRAM module business activities, ranging from aftermarket sales to well-diversified OEM businesses, according to iSuppli.
 
The biggest winner on a percentage basis was No. 6 ranked Apacer Technology, which expanded its sales by a remarkable 24.4% in 2007. The company benefited from a deal made by its parent company, Acer, to acquire Gateway, which expanded Apacer’s sales. Because of this, Apacer came close to reentering the Top 5 rankings for the first time since 2005.
 
On the other side of the equation, many of the second-tier, third-party DRAM module makers now are considering exiting the business.
 
“Many of the smaller players are struggling over the question of whether to quit the DRAM module market,” Lei said. “Although market conditions are set to improve soon due to the inevitable price rebound, it’s uncertain how long these companies can stay in the business given the top-tier suppliers’ aggressive moves to expand their market share.”
 
Despite these challenges, the third-party DRAM module business still offers attractive growth opportunities to those companies able stay afloat, says iSuppli.
 
“Third-party module makers that are able to control inventory and to develop effective strategies for competing in the market stand to return to profitability and to recapture the market share they lost to their chip suppliers in 2007,” Lei said. 
SAN JOSE – University of California-Berkeley professor Dr. Luke P. Lee will unveil the future of medical innovations through functional BioPOETIC (Biologically-inspired Photonics-Optofluidics-Electronics Technology-based IC) devices and packaging when he keynotes the MEMS Packaging Symposium this month.

The symposium is sponsored by the MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Engineering Council (Meptec), which announced the final program is in place. MEMS Market Evolution: From Technology Push to Market Pull takes place May 22, in San Jose.

Other presentations include sessions on consumer and automotive applications:

  • Karen Lightman, managing director, MEMS Industry Group, on findings and recommendations from METRIC 2008, the annual meeting for members of MEMS Industry Group.
  • Moshe Gat, R&D section manager, Wireless Semiconductor Division, Avago Technologies, Size Reduction and Integration of RF filters in Cellular Phones.
  • Ken Yang, Ph.D., advanced MEMS development manager, Analog Devices, Three-Axis Motion Sensor Development and Production for Consumer Electronics Market.
  • Aaron Partridge, chief science officer, SiTime, MEMS Timing – More Function in a Smaller Package.
  • Janusz Bryzek, LV Sensors, Inc. / Joseph R. Mallon, Jr., Exept/Stanford University, Green Killer Application:  Wireless Tire Pressure Monitoring.
  • Jonathan Rheaume, Research Specialist, UC Berkeley, Micro-Printed Solid State Electrochemical Sensor for Monitoring Lean Direct Injection Engines.
  • Venkataraman Chandrasekaran, senior design engineer, Sensata Technologies, Sensors at Sensata: Recent and Emerging Applications in Powertrain and Safety Systems.

Other sessions cover wafer-level packaging and 3D ICs  and MEMS and Biomedicine.

For information: meptec.org.

 

JASPER, IN – Kimball International today reported a fiscal third-quarter net loss from continuing operations of $900,000 on net sales of $332.1 million. For the quarter ended March 31, sales were up 7%, but earnings fell 120%.  Read more ...
TORONTO – SMTC Corp. reported March quarter revenue of $55.1 million and net income of $400,000 For its first quarter ended March 30, sales were down 20.3% and profits were off 86% versus last year. However, net income for the first quarter of 2007 included a $1.8 million tax recovery and related interest.  Read more ...
SMYRNA, GAUP Media Group, parent company of Circuits Assembly and Printed Circuit Design & Fab, will broadcast "Optimize System Performance with FPGA/PCB Co-Design," a 45-minute free Webinar, on June 3, at 2 PM EDT.
 
Bob Potock, director of FPGA marketing for Mentor Graphics, Systems Design Division, will discuss how new FPGA/PCB concurrent design processes and tools can significantly improve system performance and product costs, as well as designer productivity. Attendees will learn the elements of an effective FPGA on-board strategy, how to boost productivity and PCB quality, and be introduced to specific implementation options.
 
This event is the third in a series of Webinars addressing how to efficiently design today’s increasingly complex PCBs in the competitive electronics industry.

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