The semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies AG and United Microelectronics Corporation, a leading global semiconductor foundry, have extended their existing manufacturing partnership into power semiconductors for automotive applications. Prior to this expanded partnership, the foundry had been producing Infineon’s logic chips for more than 15 years.
Based on the recently signed agreement, both companies will jointly transfer Infineon’s automotive-qualified Smart Power Technology (SPT9) to UMC and extend its production to 300mm wafers. Production start of SPT9 products at UMC’s 300mm Fab in Taiwan is planned for early 2018.
SPT9 is a proprietary 130-nanometer (nm) process technology of Infineon that combines microcontroller intelligence and power technology on a single die.
In order to satisfy the demands of automotive applications for more functionality and safety as well as compact and cost-optimized solutions, an increasing amount of digital logic is required in power semiconductors.
In 2009, Infineon was the first semiconductor manufacturer to offer an automotive-qualified embedded power technology in 130nm technology node that combines complex digital logic circuits, sensor interfaces and power electronics.
Combining building blocks that are actually manufactured in three different production process technologies enables semiconductor devices that are highly integrated and take over many tasks of other system components. Since fewer components are required in the application, the vulnerability of automotive control systems to faults is reduced.
With SPT9, even semiconductors offering massive functionality are very small in size. SPT9 applications are varied, ranging from intelligent control for small electric motors in vehicles, such as used for power window lifts, wipers, sun roofs, power seats and fan/blower control, oil and water pumps, to airbags, and audio amplifiers.
UMC is a world leading semiconductor foundry, with annual revenues exceeding US$4 billion. In the 2013 global automotive semiconductor market, worth US$25.1 billion, Infineon is ranked number two with a 9.6% market share.