Microelectronics world news

India awards financial incentives to First Solar’s Tamil Nadu manufacturing facility

Semiconductor today - Wed, 03/29/2023 - 17:47
Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA says that its manufacturing facility in India has been awarded financial incentives under the Indian government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) program. First Solar was one of only three manufacturers selected to receive the full range of incentives, which are reserved for fully vertically integrated manufacturing. The incentives are subject to the facility meeting product efficiency and domestic value creation thresholds, which will be evaluated on a quarterly basis from second-quarter 2026 through 2031...

KYOCERA AVX antenna simulation models are now available in Ansys HFSS 3D Electromagnetic Simulation Software

ELE Times - Wed, 03/29/2023 - 14:53

KYOCERA AVX, a leading global manufacturer of advanced electronic components engineered to accelerate technological innovation and build a better future, announce that direct links to simulation models for its most popular embedded antennas are available in the latest release of the globally renowned Ansys HFSS 3D electromagnetic simulation software, Ansys 2023 R1.

Engineers use Ansys HFSS software to design high-frequency, high-speed electronics optimized for use in applications including communications systems, ADAS, satellites, and IoT devices. The latest release, Ansys 2023 R1, empowers users to run large jobs and overcome hardware capacity limitations with new high-performance computing and cloud capabilities, enhanced solver algorithms, and powerful graphical processing units. It also supports new collaborative, model-based systems engineering workflow capabilities and integrated more AI and machine learning capabilities to further improve engineering efficiency and accelerate innovation.

Ansys 2023 R1 features direct links to simulation models for 13 of the most popular KYOCERA AVX antennas, including embedded FR4 and ceramic GNSS, ISM, BLE, Wi-Fi, LPWA, 5G/LTE antennas widely employed in IoT, medical, and automotive applications. When users click on the 13 KYOCERA AVX antenna components featured in the Ansys 2023 R1 software, they will be transported to the KYOCERA AVX website to download the simulation files.

These 13 embedded antenna models are also available on the KYOCERA AVX website for Ansys HFSS versions 2019 R3 to 2022 R2. In addition, a complete range of KYOCERA AVX embedded antenna models designed for use with all of these versions will be available in Q2 2023.

“Many of our customers utilize Ansys HFSS software, and they used to have to contact us for compatible antenna simulation files. So, we’re very proud that our 13 most popular embedded antennas are featured in Ansys 2023 R1 and available for direct download on our website,” said Carmen Redondo, Director of Global Marketing Antennas, KYOCERA AVX. “We’re committed to providing our customers with a comprehensive suite of tools and resources engineered to make antenna integration as easy as possible and ensure optimal performance. So, we’re also proud to offer an increasing array of electromagnetic simulation model downloads compatible with Ansys versions 2023 R1 and 2019 R3 through 2022 R2 on our product pages.”

“We’re pleased to offer a selection of KYOCERA AVX’s embedded antennas in our new Ansys 2023 R1 software,” said Matt Commens, Senior Manager – Electronics Product Management, at Ansys. “The new products, technologies, and tools available in 2023 R1 enable engineering teams to simulate and rigorously examine products and systems under varying conditions, gain precise insights, and optimize designs at every stage of the product development process, regardless of application.”

The post KYOCERA AVX antenna simulation models are now available in Ansys HFSS 3D Electromagnetic Simulation Software appeared first on ELE Times.

Welsh Government to expand Newport’s compound semiconductor cluster

Semiconductor today - Wed, 03/29/2023 - 14:40
Following a trade mission to California’s Silicon Valley last week, the Welsh Government’s Economy Minister Vaughan Gething says that it is progressing with plans to expand the compound semiconductor cluster in Newport, South Wales...

Wolfspeed’s Durham HQ hosts first stop on Biden’s ‘Invest in America’ tour

Semiconductor today - Wed, 03/29/2023 - 11:43
At its headquarters in Durham, NC, USA, Wolfspeed Inc — which makes silicon carbide materials as well as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power-switching & RF semiconductor devices — hosted the first stop of US President Joe Biden’s ‘Invest in America’ tour, in which he highlighted initiatives designed to boost US manufacturing, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and strengthen supply chains. US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper were also in attendance at the event...

Wolfspeed and NC A&T to establish joint silicon carbide R&D facility

Semiconductor today - Wed, 03/29/2023 - 11:28
At an event attended by US President Joe Biden, it was announced that Wolfspeed Inc of Durham, NC, USA – which makes silicon carbide materials as well as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power-switching & RF semiconductor devices – and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (America’s leading historically Black college or university) are to apply for CHIPS and Science Act funding to build a new R&D facility on the North Carolina A&T campus, focused on SiC to support the next generation of compound semiconductors. Wolfspeed and A&T intend to submit the project for federal investment as part of the CHIPS and Science Act when the Notice of Funding Opportunity for R&D facilities is released this fall...

Arduino Welcomes a New Addition to the UNO Family: The UNO R4

AAC - Wed, 03/29/2023 - 03:00
As modular electronics become more popular in professional electronics, a new Arduino has hit the market.

Startup Enfabrica’s Accelerated Compute Fabric Addresses AI/ML in the Cloud

AAC - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 22:00
The networking silicon and software company emerged from stealth mode today at the inaugural MemCon, where it is introducing new Accelerated Compute Fabric (ACF) devices with the goal of addressing interface bottlenecks and scalability challenges in AI computing.

More Than Moore: Lux Semiconductors’ System-on-Foil Shrinks Circuits

AAC - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 19:00
System-on-Foil may sustain semiconductor growth after the sun sets on Moore’s law.

Qorvo’s RF Fusion22 wins 2023 GTI Award

Semiconductor today - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 18:42
Qorvo Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA (which provides core technologies and RF solutions for mobile, infrastructure and defense applications) says that its RF Fusion22 chipset has won the 2023 GTI Innovative Breakthrough in Mobile Technology Award. The award recognizes Qorvo’s technical innovation in 5G chipsets, which combine compact, high-performance 5G functionality for leading smartphone manufacturers. This is the third time that Qorvo’s 5G offerings have been recognized with the GTI Award...

Memory cards: Specifications and (more) deceptions

EDN Network - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 16:58

Back in September 2022, I told you about two microSD cards that weren’t as advertised, capacity-wise:

A bit more recently (at the beginning of this year, specifically), I unsuccessfully tried to get inside one of them:

And now…well, it’s happened again, this time with an SD card. Back at the end of December, I bought a “Used-Very Good” condition 128 GByte SDXC card from Amazon’s Warehouse section for $27.45, versus $32.83 (its current brand-new price on Amazon as I write this):

This was the second “Warehouse”-sourced acquisition of the same card (vendor, capacity and performance specs) that I’d made in ~1 month, following in the footsteps of a “Used-Like New” purchase (ironically for $0.10 less) in late November. And at the same earlier time, I’d also bought two brand-new cards “Black Friday”-priced at $27.63 each. At first, all four cards seemingly worked fine. The only discrepancy I’d noticed was that the “Used-Very Good” card came absent its packaging, instead housed solely within a clear plastic “baggie”, but it had been advertised as repackaged, so I didn’t think anything of it.

Prompted by the advertised-vs-true capacity discussion I had with reader “Ducksoup_SD” as a follow-up to that earlier mentioned January 2023 writeup, I gave in to curiosity and did full-reformats (versus default “quick” formats) on all four PNY SD cards (plus four used Sony ones I’d subsequently bought from B&H Photo Video for another project, details of which I’ll save for another time) to ensure that they actually delivered the promised storage capacity in full.

The late-December-acquired Amazon Warehouse-sourced PNY passed format but seemed to complete slower than its peers, which was strange. Its label also fell off when I pulled it out of the computer’s SD card slot: more strangeness. So, further feeding the curiosity beast, after clumsily gluing the label back on, I ran Blackmagic’s Disk Speed test (here’s a direct link to the utility on Apple’s App Store) on all four of them. Here’s what I got on the two new ones and the “Used-Like New” one:

And here are the results on the “Used-Very Good” one, which previously had seemingly reformatted more slowly than the others:

Notice the disparity? All four cards delivered comparable read speeds, but the fourth card’s write performance was ~25% lower than the others. As soon as I flipped it and one of the other cards over, I had my answer:

Again, see the difference? Before continuing, I’ll also share a photo of both cards’ front sides:

The under-delivering “Used-Very Good” one is on the left in both pictures; you’ll need to take my word that it originally looked identical to its full-performance peer to the right. The label degradation you see was solely the result of my earlier-mentioned re-glue clumsiness.

To explain what I think is going on, here’s some preparatory background. While the underwhelming write performance may be a minor annoyance when you’re formatting a memory card, it’s a huge issue when you’re trying to sustainably camera-capture “raw” or other high bitrate-formatted 4K or higher resolution video (which is precisely what I’d bought these cards for), for example. The correctly outfitted card on the right is a UHS-II model; its second row of signal contacts, in combination with the earlier SD-to UHS transition to low-voltage differential signaling, enables it to deliver highest-possible interface transfer speeds (currently, at least; there’s also a UFS-III spec but I haven’t seen any cards based on it yet). The other one has a more conventional single row of apportioned contacts. Compare the two and you’ll likely come up with at least two correct conclusions:

  • UHS-II cards are intentionally designed to be backwards-compatible with UHS-I (and precursor) card readers, albeit running at lower transfer speeds in the process, and
  • The card slot in the system I used for my benchmarking, an early 2015 13” MacBook Pro, is obviously UHS-II cognizant, otherwise the correctly implemented cards wouldn’t have performed better than their slower sibling did.

So, what happened here? I suppose this could have been a screwup on PNY’s part from the get-go, sticking the wrong label on the card way back at the factory. But more likely, I suspect (particularly given that the label on the misbehaving one fell off on me), is that this is the latest in a long line of storage scams that have victimized many folks. Back in January, for example, I told you about a ripoff from mid-last year involving Walmart (inadvertently, I assume) selling supposedly 30 TByte portable SSDs for $39. Well, subsequent to my January writeup’s publication, another scam got lots of coverage: fake 16 TByte SSDs on Amazon for $100.

My guess? Someone printed up a bunch of fake PNY labels, stuck them on unknown-source SD cards (correct-capacity ones, at least) and returned them to Amazon, keeping the legit ones they’d previously purchased. I got one of the fakes. Who knows, frankly, how many times this particular card has circulated through Amazon Warehouse’s buy-return-resell (lather, rinse and repeat) cycle, and how many of these fake cards ended up unknowingly (and permanently) in scammed buyers’ hands. To wit, I almost didn’t bother returning the card, out of concern that Amazon might just turn around and resell it even though I’d documented its definitive flaws in my return-request submission. Instead, I thought about instead keeping it to add to the teardown pile; in retrospect, had I done so, I might have also been able to discern info about its origination via a perusal of its S.M.A.R.T. data using a utility such as CrystalDiskInfo.

More generally, the specs associated with the microSD and SD cards, and therefore the markings on the labels of them, are IMHO frankly a mess. In addition to the aforementioned bus interface evolution and options (default SD, high speed SD, and UHS-I, UHS-II and UHS-III, along with SD Express in the future) there are four different capacity range classifications: SD (up to 2 GBytes), SDHC (2-32 GBytes), SDXC (32 GBytes-2 TBytes) and SDUC (2-128 TBytes). And there are currently three different sets of media speed classifications, all of which overlap each other:

  • Original Speed Class (2, 4, 6 and 10)
  • UHS (presumably “Ultra High Speed”) Speed Class (U1, U2 and U3, which are different than the previously discussed UHS-I, UHS-II and UHS-III interface speed options), and
  • Video Speed Class (V30, V60 and V90)

See for yourself:

Further muddying the waters are various proprietary memory card implementations. Sandisk, for example, sells a single-row contacts family that looks like a UHS-1 form factor and therefore should max out at V30 transfer rate performance (in fairness, Sandisk does label them as such). But the company touts them as delivering up to 200 MByte/sec read and 140 MByte/sec write speeds. That’s because they optionally support a Sandisk-only DDR interface transfer mode which, to the best of my knowledge, is only comprehended by a few Sandisk-branded card readers; in industry-standard card slots they run at 104 MByte/sec max UHS-1 speeds.

And don’t get me started on all the other high-capacity and/or high-performance removable memory card form factors and spec options, industry standard and proprietary alike, that are now contending for consumers’ wallets, such as the Compact Flash Association’s CFast and CFexpress, the latter in both Type A and B variants…sigh. I could dive down into the next level of spec minutia, complete with more rants, but I think I’ll spare both you and my poor associate editor colleague the incremental wordcount and associated angst. Thoughts, supportive or not, on my situation, conclusion and overall industry observations? Sound off in the comments!

Brian Dipert is the Editor-in-Chief of the Edge AI and Vision Alliance, and a Senior Analyst at BDTI and Editor-in-Chief of InsideDSP, the company’s online newsletter.

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SGL Carbon reaches long-term offtake agreement to supply graphite components to Wolfspeed

Semiconductor today - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 16:47
Based on their established and long-lasting business relationship, SGL Carbon has entered into a long-term offtake agreement to supply graphite components to Wolfspeed Inc of Durham, NC, USA for its US production, as it ramps up capacity to meet steepening demand for silicon carbide technology and devices...

High efficiency drive solutions for the packaging industry from Nord Drivesystems

ELE Times - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 15:41

NORD-NORDAC-ON-versions.jpg: One inverter, two versions: NORDAC ON for use with asynchronous motors (foreground) and NORDAC ON+ for combination with synchronous motors

Whether primary, secondary or end-of-line packaging: For all stages in the packaging process, NORD DRIVESYSTEMS implements economical, sustainable and tailor-made drive solutions that optimally meet the relevant application-specific requirements and, at the same time, can contribute to a considerable reduction of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

NORDAC ON/ON+: Decentralised frequency inverter with integrated Ethernet interface

The decentralised frequency inverter NORDAC ON/ON+ is characterised by an integrated Ethernet interface (Profinet, EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT can be set via parameters), full plug-in capability and a very compact design. The smart inverters are ideally suited for integration into packaging machinery, saving space as well the extensive motor cable wiring required for centralised frequency inverters.

There are two versions available: NORDAC ON has been designed for use with asynchronous motors whereas NORDAC ON+ is intended for the combination with high-efficiency IE5+ synchronous motors.

NORD-IE5plus-motor.jpg: Efficiency at a new level: NORD’s IE5+ motor generation Image

IE5+ motor generation: Efficiency at a new level

With the IE5+ synchronous motor, NORD is setting new energy efficiency standards. Thanks to permanent magnet synchronous motor technology (PMSM), it achieves an efficiency of up to 95 percent – and this is relatively constant over a wide speed and torque range. The IE5+ motor thus provides an optimal energy consumption performance in partial load and partial speed ranges and even tops the highest defined energy efficiency class IE5.

NORD-DuoDrive.jpg: By integrating the motor and gear unit into one housing, the DuoDrive is very lightweight and compact, coupled with very high power density Image

DuoDrive: Seamless integration of gear unit and motor

The patented DuoDrive is a revolutionary integrated gear unit/motor concept that covers power ranges of up to 3 kW. It combines the high-efficiency IE5+ motor and a single-stage helical gear unit in one housing. The constant motor torque over a wide speed range allows for consistent variant reduction and reduction of operating costs. Together with the simple plug-and-play commissioning, this results in a significant reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in comparison with existing drive systems. The unventilated washdown design with smooth surfaces meets the most stringent hygiene requirements and ensures optimum cleaning.

NORD-surface-treatment-nsd-tupH.jpg: The nsd tupH surface treatment offered by NORD is an

2/4 outstanding corrosion protection for gear units, smooth surface motors, frequency inverters and motor starters in wash-down optimised cast aluminium housings Image

 nsd tupH surface treatment: An alternative to stainless steel

The nsd tupH surface treatment is available for NORDAC ON/ON+ as well as the IE5+ synchronous motor and the DuoDrive geared motor. Thanks to a special method, the surface is made corrosion-resistant and harder and makes aluminium behave like stainless steel with regard to corrosion protection. This is not a coating, but a surface treatment that creates a protective layer which is permanently bonded to the substrate material. So, nothing can detach or flake off. The drives are easy to clean and largely resistant to acids and alkalis.

The post High efficiency drive solutions for the packaging industry from Nord Drivesystems appeared first on ELE Times.

VueReal to create 75 new jobs over three years, aided by Invest Ontario and SDTC funding

Semiconductor today - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 14:59
Invest Ontario is providing investment support to VueReal Inc of Waterloo, ON, Canada to enhance its technology manufacturing capabilities in the province. With funding assistance from Invest Ontario and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), VueReal plans to create 75 new jobs over three years in the Kitchener-Waterloo area...

ASMPT’s expert system provides relief for quality assurance staff – now also open to third-party equipment

ELE Times - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 14:51

Greater yields, less routine work for the operators on the shop floor: WORKS Process Expert from ASMPT, the world’s first self-learning in line expert system for electronics production, reduces scrap and operator assists along the entire SMT line. The latest version of the process-optimizing software now also includes the placement process in addition to solder paste printing and even works with SPI and AOI systems from other manufacturers.

SMT lines learn and optimize themselves: Together with the DEK printing platform, the high-speed Process Lens SPI system and the SIPLACE placement machines from ASMPT, the WORKS Process Expert software forms a self-learning inline expert system that lets electronics manufacturers produce faster, more cost-effectively, and with significantly higher yield. While autonomous process control was previously limited to solder paste printing, the new version of WORKS Process Expert in combination with end-of-line AOI systems now also supports the optimization of the placement process by driving the operators to the tasks with the highest positive impact on the process. With its connection to SPI and AOI systems, it supports process and quality engineers in identifying the defect root-cause across the complete SMT line, thus ensuring its elimination and higher yield.

Following its Open Automation principle, the SMT specialist has also opened up the trend-setting software to third-party equipment, allowing WORKS Process Expert to process data from SPI and AOI systems made by other manufacturers. Seamless connectivity of the inspection solutions in the SMT line is ensured by the open IIoT and communication standard IPC-CFX.  The smart software thus becomes a powerful solution for higher yields and better quality while simultaneously reducing operator assists along the entire SMT line, making it a significant contributor to the realization of the integrated smart factory.

“Hardware and software for industrial inspection solutions are available from many manufacturers,” says Jérôme Rousval, Product Manager Process Solutions at ASMPT, “but hardly anyone has such a wealth of experience and comprehensive process knowledge as ASMPT. Since we cover the entire electronics manufacturing process chain with our hardware and software as well as with our automation solutions, we are also one step ahead when it comes to process automation. And this is especially beneficial for our customers’ employees.”

Online show: Facts on Open Automation

Providing the best possible support for operators with intelligent software and smart process optimization is also the subject of the next installment of the ‘Facts on Open Automation’ show on Wednesday April 26, 2023. “Where in the past several operators used to be responsible for a single SMT line, today often only one operator remains,” explains host Laszlo Sereny. “He or she must keep the entire line running, replace stencils in the solder paste printer according to customer specifications, and ensure timely material replenishments at the placement machines – all while keeping an eye on the key performance indicators at all times. Multitasking and process know-how are in demand, and emergency operations are not uncommon.” Sereny and his studio guests will discuss how software supports operators during assists based on their qualifications and the respective task priorities, and how autonomous process control solutions help with quality assurance. Axel Lindloff, Senior Process Specialist at Koh Young, will join them remotely.

Based on ASMPT’s Open Automation concept, WORKS Process Expert is retrofittable, vendor independent, and covers the entire SMT line.

The post ASMPT’s expert system provides relief for quality assurance staff – now also open to third-party equipment appeared first on ELE Times.

ACM receives first purchase order for Ultra C SiC substrate cleaning tool

Semiconductor today - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 13:41
ACM Research Inc of Fremont, CA, USA, which develops and manufactures wafer processing equipment for semiconductor device and advanced wafer-level packaging (WLP) applications, has — through its operating subsidiary ACM Research (Shanghai) Inc — received the first purchase order (PO) for its Ultra C silicon carbide (SiC) substrate cleaning tool...

Memory Giant Toshiba To Be Acquired After Years of Highs and Lows

AAC - Tue, 03/28/2023 - 02:00
The acquisition marks the end of an era for the Japanese memory giant.

Making USB Universal: New Devices Aim to Boost USB Charging Power

AAC - Mon, 03/27/2023 - 20:00
With the release of the USB PD 3.1 EPR standard, industry leaders are rapidly announcing solutions for more efficient USB power supplies.

Adjustable regulator trimmer simple failsafe circuit

EDN Network - Mon, 03/27/2023 - 19:05

Frequent contributor, Peter Demchenko, recently published A safe adjustable regulator discussing the likelihood and consequences of rheostat-connected voltage trimmer failure in three-terminal adjustable regulator (LM317, LM350, NTE1929, etc.) circuits, and how to avoid them. Peter observes that trimmer pot wipers, being electromechanical moving parts, are far more likely to fail than solid state components. When wipers do fail, the most probable outcome is an open circuit. In the context of adjustment circuits typically found in regulator manufacturer datasheets (see Figure 1), this will cause regulator runaway and likely a fried load!

Wow the engineering world with your unique design: Design Ideas Submission Guide

Figure 1 The typical regulator datasheet adjustment circuit.

Peter’s solution incorporates a passive network comprising of several resistors and a range selection switch. It also includes software to facilitate calculation of the necessary component values, since the classic simple 3-terminal adjustment equation…

Vout = 1.25(R2 / R1 + 1)

…won’t work for his network.

While Peter’s solution is ingenious and effective, presented here is an alternative idea. It takes advantage of the fact (also shown in Figure 1) that pots connected as rheostats (e.g., R2) have a wasted terminal: the NC end of the resistance element. This orphan is adopted and given a friend (Q1) and a happy home in the failsafe circuit of Figure 2. Here’s how it works:

Figure 2 A simple failsafe circuit where the NC pin of the pot R2 (in Figure 1) is instead connected to Q1.

In normal operation, R2’s wiper will maintain a solid connection with the pot resistance element.  This will hold that node to a voltage very near that of the ADJ terminal, depriving Q1 of forward bias and holding it OFF. In this state, ordinary regulator operation is maintained, and the usual adjustment equation still applies.

But suppose, due to defect or wear-out, the pot wiper contact fails and the connection between resistance element and wiper terminal is lost as shown (X marks the spot!) in Figure 3.

Figure 3 Failure is an option!

Now, a connection will be established through R2 from Q1’s base to ground. Q1 will therefore turn ON, ADJ be pulled down to <1V, R1’s ~5mA bias necessary for correct regulator operation sunk, and Vout thereby clamped to a safe and sane ~2V.

Disaster averted. Not a bad insurance policy for the cost of one transistor.

The idea works similarly with negative regulators.

Figure 4 Failsafe circuits with a negative regulator need an NPN Q1.

 Or, if you prefer, the pot wiper can be grounded as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 Failsafe circuit with the pop wiper grounded.

Stephen Woodward’s relationship with EDN’s DI column goes back quite a ways. In all, a total of 64 submissions have been accepted since his first contribution was published in 1974.

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