CEO interview: SkyWater foundry hits its stride; looks to Europe: Page 2 of 5

January 27, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
CEO interview: SkyWater foundry hits its stride; looks to Europe
Two years after we last conducted an interview with Tom Sonderman, CEO of foundry SkyWater Technology Inc., we find there has been plenty of activity with more on the horizon.

The investment provided an additional 16,000 square foot of building providing an additional 8,000 square foot of clean room space that can be dedicated to the dual-damascene copper. "We've also made productivity improvements as well. For example, we do wafer sort on site and this provides better in-line control and increases productivity by 30 percent," said Sonderman.

SkyWater has also struck up a strong relationship with German chip company Infineon Technologies AG.

Skywater was born out of a chip manufacturing site that was previously owned by Cypress Semiconductor Corp. and originally established by Control Data Corp. As is often the case in wafer fab divestments SkyWater had a "take or pay" legacy manufacturing agreement with Cypress that was due to wind down over several years.

The completion of Infineon's takeover of Cypress in April 2020 (see Infineon to swallow Cypress in a move to expand product ...) provided an opportunity for SkyWater to renegotiate. The result was more of the same type of work. But SkyWater is open to making other chip types for Infineon, with its growing capabilities in MEMS and power semiconductors. This includes novel power MOSFET discretes with fin-type technology, said Sonderman.

Sonderman said that SkyWater's wafer services divide into three strands. The majority is 130nm mixed-signal CMOS production on a process Cypress called S8, and which SkyWater has renamed S130. This is being performed for Infineon, Parade Technologies and others. The second strand is 90nm processes and below; including the 90nm rad-hard CMOS and 65nm CMOS. The third is power MOSFET discretes. Right now the volume work roughly divides 80:10:10 Sonderman said.

Next: next-gen processes

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