Many players from the semiconductor ecosystem had taken initiatives toward the development of Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) wafers to fulfill the growing demand for cost-effective, high-performance, low power, and miniaturized electronic devices that find applications in computing and mobile, automotive, and telecom instruments. In addition, rapidly advancing technologies, such as 5G, IoT, and data centers, encourage companies to develop innovative and highly scalable products with improved performance. To gain a competitive edge over others, companies are adopting partnership and collaboration strategies. For example, GlobalFoundries, a leading semiconductor foundry, and Soitec, a specialized manufacturer of high-performance semiconductor materials, signed a long-term agreement to ensure the high-volume manufacturing and supply of 300 mm SOI wafers.
MarketsandMarkets™ View Point:
Amit Shetkar, Research Analyst in Semiconductor & Electronics Domain, MarketsandMarkets™, shares his point of view as mentioned below:
Both the companies have been entered into a long-term partnership agreement due to the high adoption of RF-SOI technology in almost all the smartphones, rise in the demand for highly secure solutions in the automotive sector, and development of 5G mobile technology. Through this partnership, Soitec is expected to provide an uninterrupted supply of ultra-low power and high-performance SOI wafers to meet the rising demand from GlobalFoundrie’s customers for RF-SOI and FD-SOI platforms.
SOI wafer manufacturers have a high demand for FD-SOI wafers as they consume less power. Hence, these wafers are used in entry-level application processors of smartphones, System-on-Chip (SoC) devices deployed in autonomous vehicles, IoT devices, and millimeter wave applications such as 5G transceivers and radar systems used in automotive electronics. All these factors create a huge opportunity for the SOI market to grow at a significant rate in the near future.
Fig: - Penetration of Wafer Types in SOI Market, 2018 vs. 2024
Source: - Company Annual Report, Investors Presentation, Industry Journal and Magazine, Expert Interview, and MarketsandMarkets Analysis
Impact of Collaboration
Several wafer manufacturers and foundry players, such as Soitec (France), Simgui (China), GlobalFoundries (US), Samsung Foundry (South Korea), and TowerJazz (Israel), are focusing on inorganic growth strategies to strengthen their position in the SOI market. The SOI technology and wafer provider (Soitec) ensures the supply of RF-SOI and FD-SOI wafers to its partnered company (GF) so that a full-service foundry could easily meet the growing SOI need of its customers. Also, as GF is a leading company that provides distinguished SOI solutions, it has created more demand for Soitec's engineered substrates and helped Soitec to build the required capacity to meet the unprecedented demand for SOI wafers. By collaborating with each other, both the companies could share their resources to manufacture SOI wafers in bulk and create more opportunity in the market.
Recent Collaborations in SOI Market Are as Follows:
- In January 2019, Soitec expanded its collaboration with Samsung Foundry to ensure the high-volume supply of FD-SOI wafers. This development is expected to strengthen the product portfolio and position of Soitec in the SOI market.
- In September 2018, GlobalFoundries and Imagination Technologies collaborated to deliver ultra-low power connectivity solutions to its end users. The IP and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) solutions of Imagination complement the 22FDX FD-SOI capabilities of GlobalFoundries and enable their customers to leverage low-power and cost-effective designs for IoT and connected applications.
- In March 2018, TowerJazz collaborated with Active-Semi International to ramp up the production of PAC5232, a high-voltage integrated motor controller and driver. In this driver, Active-Semi has used 200 V power SOI technology (TS18SOI) of TowerJazz. The collaboration helped TowerJazz to strengthen its domain expertise.
Ongoing developments in SOI technology and collaborations between players in the SOI ecosystem create huge opportunities for wafer manufacturers and foundry players to innovate SOI wafers. Increasing investments being made by automotive giants for the development of autonomous cars, advancements in consumer electronics, and need to minimize crosstalk in upcoming 5G cellular technology would be the new pocket revenue for the SOI market players.