Maxim goes on a diet: Page 3 of 4

February 19, 2016 //By Stephan Ohr
Maxim goes on a diet
The analog power-house faces a paradox: trim down to appeal to investors while continuing to invest in industry-leading products.
Samsung has exceeded 20 percent for several years. The company’s business with Samsung is currently 17 percent, down from a one-quarter high of 28 percent. The priority is to “diversify,” Maxim said, meaning it will attempt to reduce its dependency on a small number of very large customers.

Maxim’s on-going challenge would be to develop industry-leading products without spiking R&D spending. Tunç Doluca more than once referenced the talented engineers on his staff, but their challenge now becomes to streamline the design process. The company will also elevate the role of catalog products – called the "core technology" – suggesting perhaps that legacy products can be revamped to serve new markets. With lower R&D expenses and a long market life, core technology product (representing $800 million in Maxim’s revenues) may play a role in margin control. Gross margin target is 70 percent.

Going fab-lite

As part of its cost-efficiency program, Maxim will sell off under-utilized fabrication facilities. The sale of its San Jose facility to Apple was completed last fall. While Doluca refused to speculate on what Apple might do with the facility, he did remark that the 75,000-square foot property did not include any semiconductor manufacturing equipment (just a clean room shell). Maxim is also selling a San Antonio-based manufacturing facility, and re-tooling a Dallas bump factory.

Manufacturing efficiencies – up to a 30 percent cost saving – can be obtained, the company insists, by producing semiconductors on 300mm (12-inch) wafers. Texas Instruments was the first analog IC maker to use 300mm wafers in its Richardson, Texas fabrication facility (RFAB). Maxim was the second analog supplier to use 300mm wafers, as early as 2010, with the help of a foundry partner, PowerChip in Taiwan. The products coming out of that facility were primarily power management devices, using a Maxim-propriety BCD process, which implants DMOS power transistors on CMOS substrates.

Now Maxim is hoping to make the 300mm wafer usage


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