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TSMC Sets up Volume Production of IoT Devices This Year

Apr 13, 2015 | By CENS

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), reportedly the world's No.1 manufacturer of built-to-order chips, will begin to set up volume production capacity for chips designed for Internet of Things applications (IoT) this year after building an integrated IoT ecosystem encompassing microprocessor, power-management, system-on-chip (SoC) packaging, wireless-network, and sensor sectors.

In Q2, 2014, the company, whose chairman Morris Chang regards IoT as the “Next Big Thing”, began developing the “Ultra Low Power Platform” that supports IoT and wearable devices using its advanced off-the-shelf processes.

The pure chipmaker believes IoT will create business opportunities for wireless-networking chip, microelectromechanical sensor, micro control unit or microprocessor, ultra low power management chip, and SoC packaging sectors.

The company began developing the IoT ecosystem in Q2, 2014 to tap royalties from the silicon-related intellectual properties and the design processes of its Open Innovation Platform (OIP).

TSMC has introduced ultra low power/ultra low leakage technology, production capacity for Integrated Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging (InFO WLP) and 3D IC packaging, and a complete platform for microelectromechanical sensors.

After nearly half a year of R&D and pilot runs, TSMC has deployed 0.18-micron low leakage process and 90-nanometer ultra low leakage process for volume production and will migrate its 28/40/55 nm ultra low power process to volume production from pilot production this year.

The low-power processes can be integrated with radio frequency (RF) and embedded eFlash technologies to suit customer need.

Compared with the company's low-power processes developed in the past, the latest low-power processes enable IoT and wearable devices to consume 20-30 percent less voltage and  batteries to work two to 10 times longer on each charge.

For microelectromechanical sensor customers, the company provides integrated process that uses wafer level packaging technology to combine CMOS image sensor and digital signal processor on one single chip.

Also TSMC allows customers to use its low-power silicon IP and data to design and make IoT chips in order to shorten lead time between design and volume production in addition to assuring greater chance of success in initial design.

Industry executives say TSMC's major customers include ARM Holdings Plc., CSR Plc., Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., Nordic Semiconductor ASA, Silicon Laboratories Inc., Realtek Semiconductor Corp., Renesas Electronics Corp., and MediaTek Inc., who will begin design and pilot production on TSMC's IoT platform this year.
(KL)


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