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X-FAB and MFI Combine MEMS Foundry Offerings

(Nanowerk News) X-FAB Silicon Foundries and MEMS Foundry Itzehoe GmbH (MFI) today announced they will join forces to address the market for high-volume MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) and will combine their existing MEMS foundry capabilities and resources. X-FAB acquired a 25.5-percent shareholding of MFI, subject to antitrust approval, with the option to become the majority shareholder at a later date.
The cooperation opens up new business opportunities for both companies and complements their existing technical capabilities and manufacturing capacities. X-FAB, the leading foundry for More-Than-Moore technologies, broadens and expands its MEMS foundry service through the proven technical capabilities of MFI, and also accelerates its rapid expansion in high-volume MEMS manufacturing. MFI, a contract manufacturer for MEMS and spin-off from Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT), gains access to X-FAB's advanced analog and mixed-signal silicon foundry and MEMS device manufacturing services.
"We see a huge business potential in this cooperation," said Hans-Jürgen Straub, CEO of X-FAB. "With such excellent partners as the MFI and Fraunhofer, we form a powerful force offering a unique set of MEMS technologies. With strong demand and our combined resources, we aim to increase our annual MEMS revenue to more than $50 million in the next five years."
In addition to the recently announced expansion of X-FAB's 8-inch MEMS Center, the agreement extends X-FAB's MEMS capabilities across a wide range of 8-inch MEMS technologies for MEMS development and manufacturing that complement X-FAB's foundry services. In 2010, the company accrued more than 12 million USD of MEMS revenue, and has manufactured approximately 1 billion MEMS devices to date.
MFI, established in 2009, is active within Fraunhofer's wafer fabrication facility in Itzehoe. It has a wealth of experience in process industrialization for MEMS products and offers key manufacturing technologies on 8-inch wafers for micro-machined devices including inertial sensors, micro-mirrors and RF MEMS, wafer-level packaging techniques for wafer-to-wafer and chip-to-wafer bonding and a variety of TSV (Through Silicon Via) technologies.
"With this joint cooperation we will close the gap between microelectronics and pure MEMS foundry services and establish an outstanding technology bundle," said Dr. Peter Merz, CEO of MFI.
MFI works closely with Fraunhofer ISIT, a center of excellence for MEMS research and development, and has a successful track record of converting the results of research projects between Fraunhofer ISIT and industrial partners into a commercial, volume manufacturing environment. MFI will maintain close ties to Fraunhofer ISIT, and industrial partners will continue to benefit from their knowledge and expertise.
"Commercialization of MEMS and creation of new market opportunities are key targets for Fraunhofer ISIT," said Prof. Wolfgang Benecke, ISIT's managing director. "The alliance of MFI and X-FAB, along with the state-of-art 8-inch R&D capabilities of Fraunhofer ISIT on-site, creates boundless new possibilities in MEMS. Our partnership is unique worldwide."
About X-FAB
X-FAB is the leading analog/mixed-signal foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for analog-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs). X-FAB maintains wafer production facilities in Erfurt and Dresden (Germany); Lubbock, Texas (US); and Kuching, Sarawak (Malaysia); and employs approximately 2,400 people worldwide. Wafers are manufactured based on advanced modular CMOS and BiCMOS processes with technologies ranging from 1.0 to 0.18 micrometers, for applications primarily in the automotive, communications, consumer and industrial sectors. For more information, please visit
About MFI
The MEMS Foundry Itzehoe GmbH (MFI) offers customer oriented MEMS manufacturing services using an advanced 8 inch wafer line. MFI was established in 2009 as a spin-off from the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT) and is located within the same wafer fabrication facility in Itzehoe/Germany. The outstanding knowledge and expertise in MEMS technology together with the close relation to the Fraunhofer ISIT research group results in a complete one-stop shop for MEMS products which includes all stages of a product cycle from the basic idea up to sustainable high volume production.
About Fraunhofer ISIT
The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT) develops and produces microelectronic and microsystem components. The advanced technological equipment based on 200 mm silicon wafer technology and the expertise built up over decades ensure a world-leading position in this field for the ISIT and its customers. Microcomponents for a wide range of applications are developed by the institute. The main areas of application are automobile and transport engineering, the consumer goods industry, medical technology, communication systems and automation. ISIT carries out the design and system simulation of microcomponents for its customers, as well as providing prototypes and conducting sample production through to series preparation.
Source: X_FAB (press release)
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