November 1, 2012 - X-Fab Silicon Foundries says it has become the majority shareholder in German MEMS Foundry Itzehoe GmbH (MFI), the latest in a series of recent moves to raise its profile as a top MEMS foundry.
The MFI business, renamed X-Fab MEMS Foundry Itzehoe, complements X-Fab's capabilities in its MEMS foundry in Erfurt, adding technologies for microsensors, actuators, micro-optical structures and hermetic wafer-level packaging processes. X-Fab originally signed MFI as a contract MEMS manufacturing partner in Feb. 2011, a deal that expanded its capabilities across a range of 200mm MEMS technologies. Its ownership stake in MFI is now 51%, up from 25.5%.
X-Fab MEMS Foundry Itzehoe will continue its long-term cooperation with the Frauhofer Institute for Silicon Technology's (ISIT) MEMS Group. MFI was spun out of ISIT in 2009 and is located within the same wafer fabrication facility in Itzehoe/Germany.
"Our customers will benefit from both an even wider spectrum of available MEMS technologies and from direct access to X-Fab's manufacturing facilities for CMOS-compatible MEMS processes," stated Thomas Hartung, VP of marketing at X-Fab Group. "X-Fab MEMS Foundry Itzehoe will play an important role in the implementation of our MEMS strategy, and brings us closer to our goal of becoming one of the top three pure-play MEMS foundry providers."
"The rich combination of the versatile MEMS-specific technology portfolio at the Itzehoe-based MEMS foundry and the development expertise of Fraunhofer ISIT greatly expands the capabilities of X-Fab's technology offering," added Peter Merz, managing director of X-Fab MEMS Foundry Itzehoe. "We are delighted to provide the full bandwidth of MEMS technologies including vacuum and optical wafer-level packaging or TSV backed by X-Fab's existing and well-proven foundry services. This integration brings X-Fab customers bundled and accelerated product development and manufacturing cycles for micro-machined devices such as inertial sensors, micro-mirrors, and piezoelectric transducers."
Barely a month ago X-Fab pledged to invest $50M over the next three years to support projected growth and a goal of "becoming one of the top three worldwide suppliers of MEMS foundry services." (X-Fab placed 10th in Yole Développement's 2011 MEMS foundry rankings, surging 33% to roughly $16M in revenues, about $31M shy of No.3 Silex Microsystems.) Among X-Fab's other recent MEMS accomplishments:
- The first open-platform MEMS 3D inertial sensor process available directly from a high-volume pure-play foundry;
- Completion of a dedicated noble metal facility for MEMS;
- Produced MicroGen Systems' first MEMS energy harvesters;
- 200mm MEMS capabilities;
- High-volume manufacturing of bulk and surface micromachined technologies, with and without CMOS integration;
- In-house technology platforms for mainstream MEMS applications such as pressure sensors, inertial sensors and infrared sensors; and
- Ready-to-use IP design blocks for MEMS accelerometers.