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Chip Shortage in Autos. Spreading to Everything?

Arthur Hanson

Well-known member

With semis becoming critical in almost every area of the economy at an ever accelerating rate which I call the "Great Acceleration" the semiconductor industry is going to see shortages in many areas as not only the number of uses faces ever accelerating growth, but the markets themselves. We are going see and have already are seeing ever more and creative uses of semis on top of the growth in already established markets. All this presents a tidal wave of opportunities for semis of all types, not just traditional chips. The solar and battery areas are but one example of this and both are growing and advancing at ever faster rates with obsolescence of older systems adding to the demand at an ever accelerating rate. The speed of obsolescence is only adding to the demand, adding a second significant driver to the ever expanding market for semis. For any business plan in almost all industries, the rate of change in technologies and their increasing penetration along with obsolescence has to be taken into account and a vision of radical changes technology can bring on has to be central to any business plan. Shortages of critical semis will have to factored in as part of any business equation.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Simple solution, move your dusty old designs up to 28nm or even 16nm (300mm fabs) where there is plenty of capacity. And who is buying all of these new cars during the pandemic? Good news for the dusty old fab people though. All for the greater semiconductor good, absolutely.
 

hist78

Active member
The shortage situation can get worse toward the second half of 2021 if the global economy coming back due to the vaccine deployment. The shortage won't be limited to automobile parts because too much demand are competing a finite amount of capacity in a short period of time. From my understanding, the second tier of foundries in Taiwan are swamped by orders coming from multiple industry segments.
 

hist78

Active member
Simple solution, move your dusty old designs up to 28nm or even 16nm (300mm fabs) where there is plenty of capacity. And who is buying all of these new cars during the pandemic? Good news for the dusty old fab people though. All for the greater semiconductor good, absolutely.
How much time will the migration or redesign take?

Another challenge is too many orders come in a short period of time or come just too late. In this situation, foundries have to resort to allocation policy.
 
Simple solution, move your dusty old designs up to 28nm or even 16nm (300mm fabs) where there is plenty of capacity. And who is buying all of these new cars during the pandemic? Good news for the dusty old fab people though. All for the greater semiconductor good, absolutely.
Shrinking from something previous to 28nm or 16nm probably means a switch from single- to double-patterning. Combine that with the shrink and you've more than doubled your tooling costs for the production run. The EDA for double patterning is more expensive, too, which will be trouble for the smaller design shops that tend to do replacements for obsolete parts; there's lots of freeware tools, older tools that don't have a subscription license, and/or... What should I call them? B-grade tools? Second-fiddle tools?

Can an obsolete part replacement justify all these added costs with higher volume? Probably only in sparing cases, indeed.
 

count

Active member
Shrinking from something previous to 28nm or 16nm probably means a switch from single- to double-patterning. Combine that with the shrink and you've more than doubled your tooling costs for the production run. The EDA for double patterning is more expensive, too, which will be trouble for the smaller design shops that tend to do replacements for obsolete parts; there's lots of freeware tools, older tools that don't have a subscription license, and/or... What should I call them? B-grade tools? Second-fiddle tools?

Can an obsolete part replacement justify all these added costs with higher volume? Probably only in sparing cases, indeed.
I don't think it's simple but its certainly doable. I'm not sure what sort of migration tools TSMC has, but if they could offer an automated way to port over designs I think it would be a pretty significant opportunity for them.
 
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