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The use of IOT (Internet of Things) has been so extended and the sophistication of sensors, which correspond to eyes, ears, and nose of a human body, has been promoted. Especially, the resolution of image sensor corresponding to the eyes has been rapidly improved.
Information taken in by the sensors is transmitted via network to the cloud (computing) and the results are fed back to actuators to control electronic devices. As advocated in Industry 4.0, IOT has promoted not only efficient management of plant machinery but it also helps realize most comfortable and efficient running of household electricals in our daily life based on various information on electricity consumption and air conditioning.
Further to auto industry, HV, PHV, and EV (electric car) are going to realize automatic driving with the information exchange and feedback among sensor, network and driving control.
Among those electronics devices, power semiconductors have been used as long as ever. Simple examples are P/N semiconductors (diode), transistors, and switching devices such as Power MOSFET and IGBT. These are called as discrete semiconductors and operate single function. In addition, IC called as power supply IC (product of group company, Torex Semiconductor Ltd.) controls supplied electricity in electronics devices. Phenitec Semiconductor Corporation manufactures these semiconductors.
The business model of Phenitec focuses on contracted manufacturing known as foundry of semiconductor wafers. In semiconductor industry, business model has been generally changed from manufacturing by IDM (Integrated Device Manufacturer) where semiconductors are manufactured in integrated systems composed of designing, wafer making, and packaging in one company to consigning production to silicon foundries which are specialized in manufacturing wafers of semiconductors. While most foundries are engaged in manufacturing wafers of IC and LSI, Phenitec mainly manufactures wafers of discrete semiconductors and is perhaps only one specialized company in Japan. Uniqueness of Phenitec as a discrete semiconductor foundry is further illustrated in the fact that about half of the products are internally designed. Although those internally designed products do not carry any brand names, it is an undoubted fact that they are supplied to a lot of customers worldwide who need them. Phenitec is a group of engineers who strive for the design development of new products always watching for needs of customers.
In Okayama Plant where our headquarters are located, 50,000 pieces of diodes and transistors are manufactured monthly on 5” wafer diameter line. In Plant 1 located in the nearby Takatsuki Industrial Park, 30,000 pieces of 5” diameter and 20,000 pcs of 6” diameter of Power MOSFET, IGBT and CMOS products are manufactured monthly. Though these semiconductors are merely parts of electronics devices just like screws and nails for home carpentry, these products of Phenitec provide customers with excellent function and quality and are used in the variety of most advanced markets such as industrial machinery, automobiles, and medical equipment. Kagoshima Plant, which was acquired in 2015, is capable of making 6” CMOS in 0.18 μm process and recognized as the most advanced plant of Phenitec to be engaged in new business. Production of quite characteristic ICs for power supply (Torex Semiconductor’s products) has already been started here, using further differentiated process. In addition, such unique products as AC/DC converters of more compact shape and of very low energy consumption have been developed in Torex Semiconductor. The converters are required in wearable devices for which huge demand is expected in the future.
As to the power devices, while physical limitations of silicon as semiconductor material are anticipated, wide bandgap compound semiconductors such as SiC (silicon carbide), GaN (gallium nitride) and Ga2O3 (gallium oxide) have been developed to substitute for silicon. Phenitec has promoted developing Schottky diode using SiC.
In the future car industry, demand for electric cars is expected to increase rapidly and it has become important to drive many motors efficiently with small electric power consumption. The SiC device is indispensable to meet this technical requirement because it enables generating a lot of electric power efficiently in smaller configuration.
Phenitec has not only developed SiC devices but also started foundry business of SiC. Our business model naturally promotes our customers to freely use our Fab of SiC, if customers so desire.
Phenitec hopes to make contribution to the preservation of global environment through manufacturing such power devices of energy saving in Japan.