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January 2021
Asia Electronics Industry logo
Asia Electronics Industry
January 2021 Volume 26, Serial No. 292

ASIA ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY (ISSN 1342-422X) is published monthly by Dempa Publications, Inc., 1-11-15 Higashi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-8715, Japan Tel: +81-3-3445-6111 Fax: +81-3-3445-6890. Editorial e-mail: may@dempa.co.jp; Subscription e-mail: circulationmanila@dempa.co.jp.

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Cover | Story
H

irose Electric Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer that specializes in connectors, has been promoting the enhancement of basic technological expertise for the development of new products and technologies that match market needs, while focusing on “Quality First”. The company also gives strong emphasis on investments to strengthen its manufacturing capabilities. By field, the company targets robust growth in the three pillars of 1) automobiles, 2) industrial equipment, and 3) consumer electronics.

Hirose Electric is holding a special exhibition from Nov. 24, 2020 through Jan. 29, 2021 on the first floor of its head office building in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

At the venue, the company set up wearable and portable, industrial, smart home, and automotive. Some of the the company’s experts introduce Hirose’s leading-edge connectors that are used in respective applications in an easy-to-understand manner.

The company takes thorough measures against possible infections of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the event place. “We have adopted an advance reservation-only system to control the number of visitors who can enter the venue. Many acrylic panels are installed to prevent the spread of airborne droplets. We sterilize the venue every time after each visit of a group of visitors,” notes Hirose Electric.

INDUSTRY | REPORT
Philippine Electronics Eyes Recovery After Pandemic Blow
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fter reeling from one of the longest and strictest lockdowns imposed by any country to combat the dreaded novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Philippine electronics expects a rosier outlook in 2021 with 7 percent growth forecast. This as the industry was seen to close 2020 with 5 percent decline in output.

In an interview with Asia Electronics Industry (AEI), Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. (SEIPI) President Dan Lachica said the better-than-expected demand towards the latter part of 2020 has pulled up the full-year forecast from the more pessimistic 15 percent contraction, which was projected earlier at the height of the country’s battle with the pandemic.

“With the recovery of the global supply chain and the ramp up to full capacity, electronic companies were poised to meet the high global demand for electronics products. Unfortunately, this was not enough to offset the major setbacks at the onset of COVID,” said Lachica.

AEI News
SK hynix to Acquire Intel NAND Memory Business

KOREA and UNITED STATES – SK hynix has bought the NAND memory and storage business of Intel Corporation for US$9 billion. The transaction includes the NAND solid-state drive (SSD) business, the NAND component and wafer business, and the NAND memory manufacturing facility in Dalian, China. Intel will retain its distinct Intel Optane business.

Following regulatory approvals, which are expected to be completed late 2021, SK hynix will acquire from Intel the NAND SSD business and the Dalian facility, with the first payment of US$7 billion. SK hynix will acquire from Intel the remaining assets, including intellectual property related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees, and the Dalian fab workforce, upon a final closing, which is expected to happen in March 2025 with the remaining payment of US$2 billion. Intel will also continue to manufacture NAND wafers at the Dalian Memory Manufacturing Facility and retain all IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers until the final closing.

www.skhynix.com; www.intel.com

In View | This Month
PV Module Makers Pave Way for Recycling Business

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ost establishments in Japan have installed photovoltaic power generation systems, and recently, moves to recycle solar cell module have started emerging. Solar cell modules makers predict that by 2030 a higher number of solar cell modules will be disposed, which will become a concern. Thus, manufacturers rush the establishment of recycling technologies and systems, thinking that it holds the key to sustain the expansion of photovoltaic power generation systems after the feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme for renewable energy has expired. Under FIT, contracts between residential consumers and electric utilities are predetermined to expire after a ten-year period. It involves the utilities’ purchase of excess photovoltaic power generated by facilities owned by the consumers.

Since the start of FIT in July 2012, the installation of photovoltaic power generation systems has progressed nationwide. As the lifespan of panels is estimated to be 20 to 30 years, it is estimated that the amount of end-of-life solar cell modules that will be disposed will sharply increase in 2033, and peak between 2035 and 2037, at 170,000 to 280,000 tons per year. This is equivalent to about 2 percent of final disposal volume of industrial waste in FY2015. The shortage of disposal sites in the future is also a concern.

Special | Report
Smart Factory Updates typography
Cyber Physical System Heightens Efficiency of Smart Factory
Panasonic proposes a solution for smart factory to further improve business management and facilities through lower cost, no labor shortage, and increase in productivity.

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n recent years, on the back of uncertain global situation represented by trade friction and the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, manufacturing sites are being called on to respond to unprecedently drastic changes, such as social challenges, including manpower shortages or environmental responsiveness, and technology innovation, including the fifth-generation (5G) mobile communication system and autonomous vehicles, or vehicle electrification.

Eyeing an even more efficient manufacturing, with the so-called Cyber Physical System (CPS), making factories smart is proposed with the aim of achieving both "kaizen (improvement) of business management" and "kaizen of the manufacturing site" by reducing the cost of products, eliminating labor shortages, or boosting productivity further.

Special | Report
Digital Transformation typography
5G, AI Technologies Shore up Digital Transformation
The pandemic resulting from the novel coronavirus disease has brought TECHNOLOGIES to A whole new level with the optimization of digital data. Digital transformation, as supported by critical technologies like 5G and AI, poises to modify the way people live and work.
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he novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has shaken the entire world since the beginning of 2020 and has been continuing to have immeasurable impacts on society. Activities without face-to-face contact using information and communications technology have been attracting attention as one of effective measures to combat virus infections; but more than that, they also provide potentials to support richer and more varied social activities through the use of digital data typified by digital transformation (DX), which has become today’s trend. This article explains fifth-generation (5G) communications system and artificial intelligence (AI), which are positioned as crucial technologies that support DX.

Seoul Robotics, Cognata Team up to Train 3D LiDAR Software
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eoul Robotics, a 3D perception software engine developer for Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), has teamed up with Cognata, an Israel-based dataset training startup to build automotive and smart city solutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Seoul Robotics will use the Israeli start-up’s 3D point cloud synthetic data to train its LiDAR perception software. It also plans to use Cognata’s Simulation Platform to accelerate development and deployment of the LiDAR perception software for smart cities.

Beefs up 3D Perception Software
Seoul Robotics is a provider of artificial intelligence (AI) engine for 3D sensors, like LiDAR, enabling computers to understand 3D data in real-time to detect, classify, track, and predict objects. Applications of the AI engine vary from smart cities to autonomous cars, ADAS and delivery robots for logistics system, working together with LiDAR sensors.

Special | Report
Next-Generation Memory IC
New Research Paves Way for Novel Controller Technology
A government-backed research institute and a fabless chip maker in Korea have partnered and unveiled an open source controller as a key technology enabler that will expand the next-generation of persistent memory chip market.
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state-funded research institute of Korea has recently revealed a cutting-edge open source controller IP and firmware for next-generation phase-changing random access memory (PRAM), demonstrating how well it can work together with a memory solution to maximize the performance.

Called “OpenExpress”, the controller IP was jointly developed by state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Korean fabless chip maker Memray to tap into yet uncharted, but highly valued persistent memory chip market. The persistent memory solution is a new breed of solid-state high-performance byte-addressable memory device that has dynamic RAM (DRAM)-like data access time and non-volatility of NAND flash memory chip.

Special | Report
Semiconductor Chip Trends
Chip Makers Ready to Seize Opportunities, Win Challenges
Today’s new normal has completely changed the way people work and live, opening new opportunities for chip makers to create powerful semiconductor products, to re-design chip architecture, and to maximize chip circuitry that will optimize customers’ online experience.
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he heightened online activities resulting from the recent health scare from novel coronavirus (COVID-19) proved to be a blessing in disguise for semiconductor chip makers, especially memory chip makers, as they saw unexpected boost in demand for processors, memory chips, and other silicon contents across the mobile and server computing markets.

Looking forward, chip makers are expecting that this trend will be sustained in 2021 and beyond, spelling out boon across the global chip-making ecosystem. Yet, many challenges related to scaling down chip-making technology to get faster data process speed and more storage spaces accompany this unstoppable trend.

Renesas, Altran Select UWB Technology for
Social Distancing Wristwatch
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enesas Electronics Corporation and Altran have co-developed a wearable solution for social distancing based on Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology.

Earlier this year, Renesas announced it had licensed UWB technology from 3db Access AG, a fabless semiconductor company specializing in secure UWB low power chips to augment Renesas’s microcontrollers (MCUs).

UWB-Enabled Wearable
The platform’s form factor, a wristwatch, includes Renesas Synergy S128 MCU featuring human-machine interface (HMI) capacitive touch with licensed secure ranging UWB technology. Unlike other social distancing wearables based on technologies, like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Renesas’s UWB chipset with Low Rate Pulse (LRP) can operate on 10 times lower power consumption than competing UWB chips and measure distances with an accuracy of 10cm or less. The wristwatch’s safe distance is user-configurable; the wearer is alerted by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and haptic feedback when a second device is detected within this range.

TECH | FOCUS
3D LSI Technologies Position for Devices in AIoT, 5G Era

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n recent years, digital transformation (DX) has been advancing rapidly worldwide. Fifth-generation (5G) communications standard, which plays a crucial role in DX, adopt a platform configuration that accelerates the construction of Ultra-reliable & low latency Communications (URLLC), maintenance-free massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) typified by microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors and meters, and wearable devices, as well as enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB).

Furthermore, with the increase in communications capacity, in recent years, many internet of things (IoT) devices have come to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI), and when real-time responses are required, computation has shifted from cloud computing to distributed edge computing.

Against this backdrop, the importance of three-dimensional IC (3D-IC) technology has been increasing in order to achieve LSIs with a simple structure and small form factor, and feature high data processing capacity. Table 1 shows requirement specifications for these IoT devices.

JAE Enriches Compact Connectors Lineup for Automotive ECU
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apan Aviation Electronics Industry, Ltd. (JAE) has released MX77D cable-side socket connector as latest addition to the MX77 Series of compact, low-profile board-to-cable connectors for automotive electronic control units (ECU) applications. The new MX77D achieves 30 percent lower profile than the conventional MX77 Series products, offering further connector miniaturization for the automotive and relative markets.

Together with the existing MX77A connector series, MX77D will be available within the MX77 Series.

Freeing up Space for Larger EV Battery
The installation of advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) sensors and ECU communications equipment for connected cars continues on the rise. Due to limited integration space faced by manufacturers, there is a need for smaller and thinner ECU modules to be developed. This trend justifies the prioritization of miniaturization for ECU connectors. In response to these needs, JAE has released MX77A compact, low-profile connectors for automotive ECUs. These connectors are available to Japanese, European and American automotive manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers.

TECH | FOCUS
Transmittance Plays Key Role in Transparent Displays
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lthough there is no strict definition of “transparent display,” in general, displays that are usually transparent like window panes and in which images can be displayed are referred to as transparent displays. Head-up displays (HUDs) that project vehicle speed and other parameters on the windshields are also transparent displays.

This article discusses Panasonic Corporation’s direct-view active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) transparent display and Japan Display Inc.’s (JDI) thin-film transistor LCD (TFT-LCD) transparent display, which have recently been developed.

TECH | FOCUS
Glass Antenna Technology Expands Mobile Area Coverage

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n recent years, with the proliferation of smartphones, the traffic of mobile communications systems has dramatically increased. In high traffic areas, such as huge cities where communications concentrate, it is important to install small cell with smaller coverage and lower antennas height on the rooftop of building and steel tower, and to distribute mobile traffic. To construct an ideal area coverage, it is desirable that antennas for small cells are installed in mid-rise buildings. However, there have been many cases where installation was difficult because of several reasons, among them, impairing the aesthetic features of a landscape.

To avoid the antennas from impairing the landscape of an area, the installation of antennas inside the buildings to establish a wireless service area on the exterior side can be considered. However, in general, when radio waves propagate from indoors to outdoors or from outdoors to indoors, they are shielded by windows of buildings and a major loss occurs, and therefore, the construction of an ideal area coverage has been difficult.

MOBILITY
Novel Voltage Monitoring ICs Increase Reliability of Car Infotainment
As modern cars equip sophisticated car infotainment systems, the demand for high-performance voltage monitoring ICs are becoming imperative to address challenges of conventional main voltage monitoring systems.
M

itsumi Electric Co., Ltd. of the MinebeaMitsumi Group has developed and started producing the PST114 and PST122 Series high voltage reset ICs (voltage detectors) that withstand 40V. The new series of ICs are best suited as battery voltage monitoring of car infotainment equipment.

In car infotainment system, a reset IC monitors the voltage of vehicle battery and controls the system in accordance with changes of the voltage. With the diversification and high functionality of vehicles and car infotainment equipment, the demand for voltage monitoring has been increasing.

MOBILITY
Automotive GaN FET Provides High Power Density, Efficiency Over SiC
The new GaN FET from Texas Instruments comes with integrated driver, protection, and active power management. This enables engineers to improve performance and efficiency of automotive onboard chargers and industrial power supplies.
T

exas Instruments (TI) has expanded its high-voltage power management portfolio with the next generation of 650V and 600V gallium nitride (GaN) field-effect transistors (FETs) for automotive and industrial applications. With a fast-switching, 2.2MHz integrated gate driver, the new families of GaN FETs help engineers deliver twice the power density, achieve 99 percent efficiency, and reduce the size of power magnetics by 59 percent compared to existing solutions.

TI developed these new FETs using its proprietary GaN materials and processing capabilities on a GaN-on-silicon (Si) substrate, providing a cost and supply-chain advantage over comparable substrate materials such as silicon carbide (SiC).

MOBILITY
Tesla Pursues Ramped up EV Production to Meet Demand
The company’s plan to increase its production capacities of electric vehicle in China will go on full swing. Efforts in the China facility will be complemented with new production elsewhere in the world, including in Germany.
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enowned U.S. electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla, Inc. has announced to double the production of EVs in 2021 to 550,000 units at its Gigafactory 3, the company’s production facility in Shanghai, China. In addition to current Model 3, the company is also expected to produce Model Y in the said facility.

The Shanghai plant, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary, is Tesla’s only EV plant outside the United States. The Shanghai plant started operating at the end of 2019 and started exporting in October 2020 EVs to countries in Europe, in addition to shipment to domestic Chinese market.

MOBILITY
Automotive-Grade MLCCs Gather Steam to Meet Demand Trend
Parts makers have been innovating multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), which are seen to have huge potentials in complementing the relentless innovations happening in and around the automotive industry.
T

he development of automotive-grade multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) has been gathering momentum. Manufacturers view the advancement of the connected, autonomous, shared & services, and electric (CASE) trends, which are demonstrated mostly by automated vehicles and electrified vehicles (xEVs), will accelerate the demand for MLCCs. They are bringing out new MLCCs that satisfy AEC-Q200 qualification, a standard for automotive-use passive components, and enhance reliability unique to automotive components, such as high-temperature resistance, and vibration and shock resistance one after another.

Automotive-Grade MLCCs Gather Steam to Meet Demand Trend: Manufacturers drive the development of automotive-use MLCCs.
Manufacturers drive the development of automotive-use MLCCs.
MOBILITY
Partnership Yields Advanced Test Tool for mmWave Radars
Nihon Dempa Kogyo combined its own technologies with Tektronix to come up with advanced analysis of high-resolution millimeter-wave radars for in-vehicle applications. Soon, the new test product will also be used for high-speed mobile and other wireless communication applications.
N

ihon Dempa Kogyo Co., Ltd. has jointly developed with Tektronix, Inc. a frequency down converter for radar measuring systems to prevent collisions in the 77GHz and 79GHz bands. The company has already been accepting advance orders for this product.

In recent years, the adoption of millimeter wave (mmWave) radars in the 77GHz and 79GHz bands has been accelerating particularly in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) applications. This is because performance of mmWave radars do not deteriorate even in poor visibility conditions and can be applied in automated breaking and anti-collission systems.

By using a wideband in the 79GHz band (77 to 81GHz) in the future, attention is focused on the realization of higher resolution and higher precision, which are regarded as important for a radar performance.

Component | Materials

Panasonic Develops Low Reflection Film for Automotive Displays
The new anti-glare, anti-reflection film achieves a low reflectance of 0.5 percent and features DIN-compliant weatherability and high infrared transmittance.
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anasonic Corporation Industrial Solutions Company has put into the market an anti-glare type anti-reflection film for automotive displays. A wet process with excellent cost performance was adopted to develop the MUAG8 (G200N) low reflection film.

In upgrading automotive displays, including center information displays and side displays, the needs for larger screens, higher resolution, higher definition, odd form varieties, and improved operability are being addressed. Under such circumstances, the displays are required to provide high visibility to allow drivers to instantly obtain information to ensure safe and comfortable driving, creating strong demand for reducing reflection from displays.

Component | Materials

KOKI’s Solder Paste Effectively Suppresses Occurrence of Voids
The S3X58-G803 ultra-low voiding solder paste features design and properties that significantly reduce voids or bubbles generating at solder joints, and allowing them to remain that way.
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OKI Company Limited promotes wider use of S3X58-G803 ultra-low voiding solder paste, which effectively suppresses the occurrence of voids or bubbles that generate at solder joints.

Voids remaining in the solder after mounting cause various effects on the quality of joints, including the contribution to the impairment of heat dissipation of components and the propagation of cracks. Components, such as power transistor components that are widely used in automotive electronics and power supply devices, have been becoming larger in size, and the occurrence of void discharge defects in these large components is becoming a concern, making further reduction of voids a challenge for solder pastes.

S3X58-G803 ultra-low voiding solder paste
S3X58-G803 ultra-low voiding solder paste

Component | Materials

Hitachi High-Tech Pitches Electron Sources for Metal 3D Printing

Electron sources are used in electron microscopes in metal 3D printing, and with the expected high demand for 3D printing, high prospects are also expected for single-crystal electron sources.
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itachi High-Tech Corporation intends to expand sales of single-crystal electron sources manufactured by Applied Physics Technologies, Inc. (APTech), a group company of Hitachi High-Tech, through its global sales network. Single-crystal electron sources are presently used in electron microscopes in metal 3D printing markets.

In most manufacturing processes, the molds used in the manufacturing of metallic and resin components make mass production more efficient. However, in cases of manufacturing prototypes or in high-mix low-volume production, the time and cost involved in making molds has become a major challenge. This is why 3D printers, in which structure is formed by layering metal or resin, have been garnering attention in recent years. Not only can this technology produce a prototype from design data without the use of a mold, but through the use of additive layers, it can also reduce the size of designs and components and the number of components, which is difficult when using conventional production methods.

In addition, with the use of 3D printing technology being promoted as national policy around the world, such as under Germany’s Industry 4.0, China’s Additive Manufacturing Industry Development Action Plan, and India’s Make in India, market forecasts predict that the equipment market, which was ¥120 billion (US$1.07 billion) in 2017, will grow by up to five times that by 2030.

KEL Expands Variations of Floating Connector
K

EL Corporation has expanded the variations of floating connectors, which are the company’s strategic products, with the development of DT Series connector with 25mm stacked mating height. The company will deploy the new product to a wide range of markets, including automotive electronics and factory automation (FA) equipment. The DT Series 0.5mm-pitch floating connectors support high-speed transmission.

In Dec. 2019, KEL developed a product with a stacked mating height of 30mm in the DT Series. This time, the company has added a product with a stacked mating height of 25mm, thereby expanding its lineup of the high-functional and high-stacked mating height type connectors.

The company has achieved the stacked mating height of 25mm by developing a plug-side connector with a stacked mating height of 15mm, and by mating it with a receptacle-side connector with its stacked mating height increased by 10mm. Like the 30mm stacked mating height connector, the 25mm stacked mating height product provides ±1.0mm of float in both X and Y directions. Furthermore, by combining it with the existing receptacle side connector of the DT Series, it can be used as a 15mm stacked mating height product. The 15mm type provides ±0.5mm of float.

SMTs | IN REVIEW
Saki Reinforces International Sales System
As part of the steps to build up its business outside of Japan, the company has opened a new sales base in Saki America in Chicago to offer printed circuit board inspection systems.
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aki Corporation has opened Solution Center in Saki America, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, as part of effort to strengthen its overseas sales system. The Solution Center provides leading-edge solutions, focusing on printed circuit board inspection systems.

Saki Solution Center
Saki opens Solution Center in Saki America, Inc.
As a manufacturer of printed circuit board inspection systems for the surface mounting process, Saki develops and produces solder printing automated inspection systems (SPI), automated optical inspection systems (AOI), and X-ray automated inspection systems (AXI). The company has sales bases in China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Germany, Czech Republic, and the United States, as well as in Japan. The company also has sales partners and service bases in various locations overseas and has been expanding global business. In July 2016, Saki joined the DMG MORI. CO., LTD. group and became a consolidated subsidiary.
SMTs | IN REVIEW
JUKI Builds up Automated Components Warehouses
The company has now added ISM3900 to ISM3600 to expand the number of reels it handles. It also proposes its storage systems and other machines to other industries aside from electronic components.
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UKI Corporation has been enriching its lineup of automated electronic components warehouses, or intelligent storage management systems, which constitute JUKI Smart Solution, and has been proposing the warehouses to other industries. JUKI Smart Solution is its flagship networking solution that realizes high-efficiency production of surface mounting lines.

An automated electronic components warehouse stores electronic components to be supplied to surface mounters in tape reels. A robot picks up the electronic components in tape reels from the warehouse and puts them on an automated guided vehicle (AGV), which then efficiently transfers them.

Through its long collaboration with ESSEGI SYSTEM SERVICE S.r.l. that started in 2013, JUKI has advanced its interests in automated electronic components warehouses. ESSEGI SYSTEM SERVICE is the predecessor of ESSEGI AUTOMATION S.r.l., a manufacturer of automated electronic components warehouses. In Aug. 2019, JUKI invested in ESSEGI AUTOMATION and made it a group company. At present, JUKI Industrial Equipment Technology Corporation, which produces JUKI’s mounters, is also producing automated components warehouses.

LTPO Offers More Power Savings for Smartphone Panels
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ow-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) materials are set to become the most widely used material for thin-film transistor (TFT) backplane technology for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels for mobile devices in 2021. This, as smartphone makers are looking to rollable, bendable, but more power-efficient display solutions for their fifth-generation (5G) communication system rollout.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Apple Inc. both plan to adopt LTPO OLED panels for their smartphone models –Galaxy S21 and iPhone 13, respectively, which are scheduled for release in 2021. Samsung Electronics had already adopted LTPO OLED for its newly released Note 20 Ultra smartphone models. LTPO screens are also adopted in Apple smartwatch.

According to market research firm Omdia, demand for LTPO OLED panels would sky rocket by 400 percent from 7.40 million in 2020 to 37.10 million in 2021.

Test | Measurement
Anritsu Taps Local 5G for Business Expansion
In anticipation of the popularization of sub-6GHz band in 5G communication, the company promotes four product groups from its original product lineup to seize opportunities in this field.
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nritsu Corporation saw higher sales and profits during the second quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2021 due to demand for the development of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile systems and strong capital investments for data centers.

The institutionalization of Frequency Range 1 (FR1), which uses frequencies up to about 6GHz, was supposed to happen by the end of 2020. Thus, companies planning introduction of the sub-6 band are trying to speed up the development related to this.

Hirokazu Hamada, Representative Director, President, and Group Chief Executive Officer, notes that local 5G is quite active in the demonstration stage, but its scale remains immature because the area is not led by existing telecommunication operators. However, future business expansion in local 5G is expected.

Test | Measurement
Nihon Denkei Boosts Contract Testing Capability in China
The company’s Chinese subsidiary has put up a new testing site for automobiles in Suzhou, bringing its testing sites to three, and intensifies testing capacity for electric vehicles.
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ihon Denkei Co., Ltd. has been strengthening its contract testing business in China. Its consolidated subsidiary Denkei Technology R&D (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. maintains three test sites in Shanghai and Suzhou, and annual sales of contract tests have expanded to around ¥1 billion (US$9.62 million). With the spread of new energy vehicles, the company will further increase investment in the test facilities.

Denkei Technology R&D specializes in contract testing and calibration service, and conducts environmental tests and electrical tests mainly for automobiles.

Following the acquisition of environmental test certificate from Volkswagen AG of Germany in 2014, the number of requests for contract tests by European manufacturers has kept on growing; and the opportunity to have contract with hundreds of supply chains has opened.

TECHNOLOGY | HIGHLIGHT
Vital Techniques Improve Performance of Organic Semiconductors
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he University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba, Kitasato University, and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have succeeded in the development of coating-type n-type organic semiconductor material with high reliability, high mobility, and high resistance to atmosphere, heat, and bias stress for the first time in the world. Organic semiconductors, in which π-electron molecules are aggregated by a weak intermolecular force, have lightweight and mechanically flexible characteristics.

Furthermore, their low-temperature production by printing method dramatically reduces production costs and environmental load. Therefore, they are expected as a key material in the next generation of printed flexible electronics.

Efficient Design Guideline
In contrast to inorganic semiconductors, however, charge transport occurs via weak overlap of molecular orbitals rather than strong covalent bonds and therefore the charge mobility remains low in organic semiconductors. Furthermore, in organic semiconductors, molecules are bound by weak intermolecular forces and perform molecular motion (intermolecular vibration) due to thermal energy even in their solid state. As a result, the charge mobility is lowered as has been pointed out by various reports.

TECHNOLOGY | HIGHLIGHT
Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells Tap Titanium Oxide for Thin Film
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he National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has conducted a joint research with Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) in Germany on crystalline silicon solar cells. As a result, a titanium oxide thin film (thickness of about 5nm) formed by atomic layer deposition method has the function of passivating the surface defects of crystalline silicon having a texture structure and of selectively extracting holes from crystalline silicon. They prototyped a crystalline silicon solar cell with this titanium oxide thin film on the positive electrode side and demonstrated a conversion efficiency of over 20 percent, sufficient for practical use.

Details of Research
In the present research, a titanium oxide film is formed by atomic layer deposition method using a material composed of organometallic complex containing titanium and water vapor. This film is used in the positive electrode of the fabricated solar cell. The fabrication process is as follows: First, an n-type crystalline silicon with a surface having a pyramid-shaped texture structure is prepared. Then, amorphous titanium oxide film with a thickness of about 5nm is deposited on the surface, a transparent electrode of tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) is deposited, and a grid-shaped electrode consisting of silver (Ag) is formed. A negative electrode has a structure the same as that of conventional heterojunction crystalline silicon solar cells.

PRODUCT | HIGHLIGHT
ASIC-Based OCXO Handles High Ambient Temperature of 5G Base Stations
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o achieve high-speed, highcapacity communication and ultra-low latency communication brought by fifth-generation (5G) communications system and local 5G, an area has to be covered by a large number of small 5G base stations. These small base stations will be installed on top of outdoor steel poles, rooftops, walls, and other narrow spaces; and the environment surrounding installation sites are exposed to direct sunlight, wind, and rain. These factors demand more stringent requirements for electronic devices.

Smallest in Class
To meet these demands, Nihon Dempa Kogyo Co., Ltd. (NDK) has developed one of the smallest-class oven-controlled crystal oscillator (quartz oscillator with a temperature chamber). NH7050SA measures 7×5mm for small 5G base stations and has an operation upper limit temperature of up to +95°C. Miniaturization has been achieved by developing a dedicated application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that contains all of the oscillator circuits, temperature-control circuits, and other components of OCXO in a single chip.

PRODUCT | HIGHLIGHT
New Technology Delivers Greater Safety in In-Vehicle Control
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eveloped for in-vehicle touch control applications, Alps Alpine Co., Ltd. has developed the HAPTIC Reactor Heavy Type for strong vibration force in compact size. The product, which generates power vibrations in touch feedback operations, is already available for mass production starting January 2021 targeting the automotive market.

The use of touch input has been rising in the automotive field, enabling integration and multifunctionality of controls that are traditionally operated with the use of switches or dials. Even in applications outside car navigation and audio, touch control is expected to keep growing, not only because of design consideration but also in view of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). This has been visible in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) applications particularly on displays, as well as in advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) functionalities in in-vehicle infotainment systems.

PRODUCT | HIGHLIGHT
Proprietary Decoding System Compresses 8K Video in Real Time
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harp Corporation has developed an 8K real-time versatile video coding (VVC) decoder that runs compatible with the latest video coding standard and compresses 8K video to approximately half of the previous standard.

Video coding standards make it easier to compress, store, and transmit video while minimizing the deterioration in video quality. To keep up with advances in videos, various video coding standards have been developed over the years, such as MPEG-2 for DVDs and terrestrial digital broadcasts, AVC for Blu-ray, and HEVC for 4K ultra high definition (HD) Blu-ray and broadcasts.

The latest standard, VVC, which includes significant contributions from Sharp, can compress data to approximately half the size of HEVC, thus paving the way for higher-quality videos in areas such as data-intensive 8K and 360° applications. Sharp and other companies are developing products that will utilize VVC.

Plug Harness Improves Connector of Industrial Safety Equipment
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apan Aviation Electronics Industry Co., Ltd. (JAE) has developed a plug harness as an addition to the existing DZ02 Series compact interface connector for safety equipment connection of industrial applications.

In the manufacturing industry, the reduction of manpower and improvement of production efficiency have now become standard requirements. Production sites are seeing the accelerated implementation of automated production lines and use of collaborative robots; this now increases the necessity for devices that will ensure the safety of operators that work too close to the robotic actions or touch automated equipment.

PRODUCT | HIGHLIGHT
SiC MOSFET with Lowest On Resistance Powers EV’s Powertrain Systems
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OHM Co., Ltd. has developed the cutting-edge 4th generation 1,200V SiC MOSFETs optimized for automotive powertrain systems, including the main drive inverter, as well as power supplies for industrial equipment.

In recent years, the proliferation of next-generation electric vehicles (xEVs) has been accelerating the development of smaller, lighter, and more efficient electrical systems. In particular, improving efficiency while decreasing the size of the main inverter, which plays a central role in the drive system, remains among the most important challenges that requires further advancements in power devices.

ROHM's 4th generation SiC MOSFETs display
Photo 1: ROHM’s 4th generation SiC MOSFETs
The capacity of the onboard battery has been increasing to improve the cruising range of EVs. In line with this, the use of higher-voltage batteries (800V) is progressing to meet the demand for shorter charging times.
Business | Strategy
Samsung Makes Giant Steps in Building Chip-Making Ecosystem
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hree decades after it conquered the global memory chip market in 1994, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. sets out a new, ambitious path to step up the company’s semiconductor design and fabrication ecosystem, declaring the start of the era of K-chip, an abbreviation that is reminiscent of a global cultural phenomenon called as “K-pop” or Korean Pop culture.

On June 25, Samsung announced that it has been working together with its ecosystem partners to strengthen its chip-making ecosystem by helping them develop new raw materials and new equipment. The step-up effort is a crucial part of Samsung’s ambition to jump to No. 1 foundry chip maker by 2030.

Back in mid-2019, Samsung announced its strong intention to become the No.1 system LSI chip maker by 2030, investing 133 trillion won in the wafer fabrication infrastructure and ecosystem build-up project.

TECHNOLOGY | INSIGHT
Samsung Foundry Brings Out New Design Ecosystem for 4nm, 3nm Chips
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he foundry business of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has been stepping up its technological skills to fabricate chips with highly advanced chip design and leading–edge packaging technologies.

At the annual Samsung Investment Forum 2020 held in late November, Samsung’s foundry service announced that it will build its own 4nm and 3nm chip design ecosystem around Multi-Bridge Channel Field Effect Transistor (MBCFET) and Gate-All-Around Field Effect Transistor (GAAFET) channeling technology.

MBCFET is a new breed of gate channeling technology spun out of the GAA FinFET technology. Comprised of multi-stacked nano sheets, the MBCFET is the more powerful version of GAAFET that does not require additional areas to improve performance. This is because nano sheets can be vertically stacked, while FinFET needs fins to be added laterally.

INDUSTRY | REPORT
Components Makers Resume Capital Investments on Full Scale
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lectronic components manufacturers resume their in-vestments in plants and equipment on full scale. Their business performance, which deteriorated amid the pandemic caused by novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has begun to recover with the resumption of full-scale economic activities. In addition to the recent increase in orders, positive signs are seen for future demand as well. Efforts to level the demand and supply and bolster production systems to expand business performance have also surfaced.

Electronic component manufacturers announced their business performance in the first half (April to September) of the term ending March 2021 one after another. In summary, demand stagnated in Q1 (April to June) reeling from the major impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and business performance deteriorated more than expected. In Q2 (July to September), economic activities started to recover in several parts of the world, as measures to prevent COVID-19 were being taken, slowly picking up demand.

Silver Lining in Business Environment
Manufacturers’ business performance in the first half of the year approached the level of the same period of the previous year. In Q2 alone, some companies posted record performance. Generally, bright signs have been seen in the management environment. One company after another are revising upward their business performance forecasts for the entire fiscal year.

INDUSTRY | REPORT
Use of Metal Power Inductors in Automotive Gathers Steam
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he development of automotive-grade and metal-based power inductors has been gathering momentum. In various power supply circuits of automobiles, ferrite (Ni-Zn)-based inductors have conventionally been mounted. However, amid the progress of connected, autonomous, shared & services, and electric (CASE) trends, a wide range of requirements, including stronger safety systems, advancement toward autonomous driving, and environment-friendliness and energy savings, have been emerging. For these reasons, there have been growing clamor to propose metal-based power inductors that feature compact size and support high current.

In automobiles, relatively large ferrite-based power inductors have been typically used in power supply circuits that require high inductance. However, they pose some challenges including less compatibility with high current compared with metal material inductors and relatively large magnetic leakage flux. For these reasons, it has been difficult for them to be used in high-current and high-density automotive electric circuits.

INDUSTRY | REPORT
Compact SMDs Beef up Role in Latest Devices
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ith the progress of surface-mount technologies (SMT) as backdrop, technologies for chip components or surface-mount devices (SMDs) have been advancing remarkably. The growing needs for high-density mounting of fifth-generation (5G) communications-compatible smartphones and internet of things (IoT) terminals, as well as electronic control units (ECUs) and various modules in vehicles, accelerate the downsizing and functional enhancement of SMDs.

The pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restricted companies’ business activities. However, since summer, manufacturers restarted their production activities on full scale. With these moves, the production of various electronic devices, manufacturing equipment and automobiles has been revitalized.

Show | REPORT
SID2020
CAAC-IGZO FET Drives High-Definition OLED Display
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his article discusses the functions of the scaled c-axis aligned crystalline-indium gallium zinc oxide (CAAC-IGZO) field effect transistor (FET) and the high-resolution (5000ppi or higher) organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display using the CAAC-IGZO FET, which was presented by Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. (SEL)[1] at the SID 2020, in a paper entitled “5291-ppi Microdisplay Using CAAC-IGZO FET with Channel Length of 60nm” (Paper No. 21.1).

Characteristics of CAAC-IGZO FET
Figure 1 shows the structure of the scaled CAAC-IGZO FET and its cross-sectional view. The left side of the figure is a perspective view of the CAAC-IGZO FET, while the upper right part of the figure is a cross-sectional image in the channel length direction, and the lower right part of the figure is a cross-sectional image in the channel width direction. The CAAC-IGZO FET has a tri-gate structure in which the gate electrode covers the channel such that the electric field control by the gate is improved.

zoomin
COMPUTEX Aims New Heights, Taps AI in Novel Event Platform

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rganizers of COMPUTEX, one of the largest global information and communications technology (ICT) trade event, confirmed returning to the exhibition stage from June 1 to 4 after its 2020 edition was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Aside from physical exhibition, COMPUTEX 2021 will also tap artificial intelligence (AI) to create what it a calls smarter online-merge-offline (OMO) exhibition platform that aims to connect the huge tech community to the event whether on site or off site.

In a recent online press event, James C. F. Huang, Chairman, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), which organizes COMPUTEX, said it has partnered with Taiwanese AI solutions provider Appier Inc. to help provide the backbone to the first AI-driven exhibition.

“As a participant in every industry disruption in the last four decades, COMPUTEX now rises in digital transformation with tech pioneers. COMPUTEX 2021 will return to show ground and we plan to go way beyond jut physical showcases. COMPUTEX 2021 will provide an online-merge-offline platform for those who are unable to join onsite event,” said Huang.

Product | News
Semiconductors, ICs & Modules
R1271 Series Switching Regulator IC by Ricoh
R1271 Series Switching Regulator IC by Ricoh
Ricoh Electronic Devices, Co.’s R1271 Series high-input-voltage buck DC/DC switching regulator has a wide input voltage range of 3.6 to 30V. It can correspond to maximum 42V input, which makes it possible for the new IC to receive its source voltage directly from a battery of automobiles or a power supply of industrial products. Its high output voltage accuracy of ±1.0 percent makes R1271 useful for various automotive applications, such as ADAS, body control systems, infotainment systems, and others. For phase compensation and output monitoring, the R1271 Series has built-in feedback resistors and therefore can achieve those functions with the smallest number of external components. Besides, its high switching frequency of 2MHz lets the IC use an inductor with small inductance of 2.2μH. The new DC/DC switching regulator also includes other “easy-to-use” features such as a duty-over function to maintain output voltage by reducing its oscillator frequency automatically in case of cranking at the engine’s startup, and a spread spectrum clock generator (SSCG) function to reduce electromagnetic noise.
Ricoh Electronic Devices, Co.
www.n-redc.co.jp
Chip Market Growth to Drive DDR5 to Mainstream
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he chip industry expects the Double Data Rate 5 (DDR5) Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory (SDRAM) and Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) SDRAM are likely to become the driving force behind sustainable growth of the global memory chip market in 2021.

According to market research firm Trendforce, the computing industry’s shift to DDR5 and graphic DDR6 chips away from current de facto standard DDR4 will gain speed next year, serving as a growth catalyst for memory chip demand, surging from less than 1 percent in 2020 to 10 percent in 2021.

Cloud computing service providers and other operators are upgrading their server system with more powerful central processing units (CPUs) and memory system, as data-hungry applications like artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) are clamoring for more compute power. Same is true for PC server system vendors, encouraging chip makers to allocate more of its fab resources to production of more advanced DDR5 and GDDR6.

Thanks for reading our January 2021 issue