Category: semiconductors

Industry 4.0: What Manufacturing Looks Like in the Digital Era



The following content is sponsored by ASE Global

ASE Industry 4.0 Manufacturing in the Digital Era Main

Industry 4.0: What Manufacturing Looks Like in the Digital Era

It might sound futuristic, but the Fourth Industrial Revolution—also known as Industry 4.0—has already begun.

Following the Industrial Revolution’s steam power, electrification in the 1800s, and the Digital Revolution of the late 20th century, Industry 4.0’s innovative smart technology is unlocking the next steps in automation.

So what does the next major evolution of manufacturing look like? This graphic from ASE Global breaks down the rollout of Industry 4.0, from increased robotization to lights-out manufacturing.

The Basics of Industry 4.0

Each industrial revolution has built on what came before, incorporating new technologies and knowledge of manufacturing. Industry 4.0 has four core principles paving the way:

  1. Interconnection: Machines, devices, sensors, and people in the manufacturing process all connecting and communicating with each other.
  2. Information transparency: Comprehensive data and information being collected from all points in the manufacturing process, allowing for more informed decisions.
  3. Technical assistance: Improved technological facility of systems assisting humans in decision-making, problem-solving, and difficult or unsafe tasks.
  4. Decentralized decisions: Cyber physical systems that are able to make decisions on their own and perform tasks autonomously.

Combining these principles is what makes the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution unique. Much of the underlying technology has been available for decades, including robotics and networks, but properly using them together unlocks a massive stride in manufacturing capabilities.

Already, the market size for Industry 4.0 specific technology was estimated to be $116.1 billion in 2021. (Read more...)

Visualizing The Global Semiconductor Supply Chain



The following content is sponsored by ASE Global

Visualizing The Global Semiconductor Supply Chain Main

Visualizing The Global Semiconductor Supply Chain

Our digitally-driven society is powered by an extremely robust semiconductor supply chain, and until the COVID-19 pandemic, not many people thought about it.

But a sudden surge in demand for digital goods, improved technologies, and recovering economies put the strain and spotlight directly on semiconductors.

The millions of digital devices we use, from smartphones to electric cars, computers, robotics, and the businesses they enable, only function thanks to the intricate chips built on semiconductors. By some estimates, up to 22.5% of global GDP is made up by the global digital economy.

This graphic from ASE Global highlights the complex and global semiconductor supply chain that powers our modern world.

How Important are Semiconductors and Chips?

Fully understanding the importance of semiconductors to the modern world is sometimes tricky, especially when the devices themselves are so small.

But a semiconductor device—also known as an integrated circuit (IC) or chip—actually contains many smaller circuits comprised of millions of transistors, all packed onto a few millimeters of silicon (the semiconductor).

These semiconductor devices allow electronics to make computations, and in essence, function and operate. That makes them vital for modern electronics, with semiconductors being the fourth-most traded product in the world behind crude oil, motor vehicle parts, and refined oil.

Here’s a breakdown of different applications of semiconductor devices by market sizes in 2019:

Semiconductor Applications by Market (2019)Market Size
Smartphone25.3%
Personal Computing20.5%
Servers, Data Centers, (Read more...)

The Global Chip Shortage Impact on American Automakers


This post is by Omri Wallach from Visual Capitalist


Global Chip Shortage Impact Automakers

The Briefing

  • Delays in semiconductor (chip) manufacturing are hitting vehicle production, with more than 1 million vehicles delayed in North America alone.
  • American-based manufacturers Ford, Stellantis and GM are taking the hardest hit, combining for a delay of 855,000 vehicles.
  • Modern cars are built with anywhere between 500-1,500 different chips.

The Global Chip Shortage Impact on American Automakers

Chips, or semiconductor devices, are behind all of the world’s increasingly complex electrical and digital devices.

That includes well-known items like computers and smartphones, but also other products that are becoming “smarter” including appliances, watches, and especially cars.

The automotive industry accounts for a large share of global chip consumption, with modern cars having smart and complex entertainment systems, navigation, and sensors. A modern car can have anywhere from 500-1,500 different chips powering its different functions.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, shifting consumer demands and a slowing economy called for a reduction in semiconductor manufacturing. And unfortunately, it can take the supply chain a long time to come back online, as much as 1.5 years.

American Manufacturers Take the Biggest Hit

As the global economy has started to bounce back and demand for digital devices has increased, the chip manufacturing supply chain has become strained on its still-low supply.

And unfortunately for automakers, cars are taking the brunt of the hit.

ManufacturerModelEstimated Volume Impact (10k+)
FordFord F-Series109,710
StellantisJeep Cherokee98,584
GMChevrolet Equinox81,833
GMChevrolet Malibu56,929
FordFord Explorer46,766
(Read more...)

Semiconductor specialist Alphawave IP plans $4.5B London IPO and move to UK HQ



Alphawave IP is a global semiconductor IP company that focuses on the way semiconductors communicate — something which is going to be crucial as 5G data networks roll out and start to power everything from homes, industry and autonomous vehicles, for instance.

It’s therefore interesting to note that the Toronto-born company is planning a London public listing, with a valuation of $4.5 billion, and has raised $510 million in backing from Blackrock and Janus Henderson. The company will also move its HQ to the U.K. as part of the listing.

The move is being welcomed by City-watchers concerned with U.K. tech stock listings, after the collapse of Deliveroo’s valuation post-IPO.

Chief executive Tony Pialis said: “We have chosen to come to the U.K. to grow our business because the U.K. has an incredible technology and semiconductor industry ecosystem around it. There is a deep pool of knowledge, experience and talent here… We are specialists in connectivity. Our founding team have worked together for over 20 years and have a long history of both semiconductor innovation and in creating significant value for investors.”

The proposed listing comes in the context of another U.K.-based deep-tech company, the proposed sale of computer chip designer Arm Holdings to a U.S. company, which has been delayed subject to an investigation about the implications for U.K. national security grounds.

Mithril dives into chips again with a $55M infusion to Flex Logix



The once untouchable semiconductor sector continues to attract fervent attention from VCs.

The latest news this morning is that Ajay Royan of Mithril Capital has led a $55 million Series D round of financing into Flex Logix, which builds chips designed to bring AI workflows to the compute edge. That follows on earlier rounds in the company totaling $27 million from the likes of Lux, Eclipse Ventures and Tate Family Trust, the investment vehicle of the company’s founder and CEO Geoff Tate.

This isn’t Mithril’s first foray into the chip investing world. The firm previously backed Nuvia, a promising entrant in the server chip market which was founded by several of the top chip designers of Apple’s A-line of processors. Mithril invested $240 million in Nuvia last September, just a few months before the company flipped over to Qualcomm in a $1.4 billion transaction announced in January.

Back to Flex Logix though: we last covered the company in October, when it announced the availability of its X1 AI chip. As I wrote at the time:

Flex Logix wants to bring AI processing workflows to the compute edge, which means it wants to offer technology that adds artificial intelligence to products like medical imaging equipment and robotics. At the edge, processing power obviously matters, but so does size and price. More efficient chips are easier to include in products, where pricing may put constraints on the cost of individual components.

Mithril in its statement noted the company’s strength (Read more...)