Indian semiconductor industry

Semiconductor manufacturing for wide-band GAP/MEMS

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Elcina organized a webinar today on semiconductor manufacturing for wide-band GAP (WBG)/MEMS. Rajoo Goel, Secretary General, Elcina, welcomed the participants. Pankaj Gulati, COO, CDIL, said that a lot of automotive companies, especially, require semiconductors today.

Dr. Ashwini Aggarwal, Director-Government Affairs, Applied Materials India Pvt Ltd said today is the era of Big Data, AI, and IoT. WBG semiconductors comprise silicon carbide, gallium nitride, diamond, etc. Besides, there are other materials such as silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide, zinc oxide, etc.

Band gap is the energy required to excite an electron from the valence band to the conduction band. Due to the large band energy, high temperature is required to cause ionization, so that high temperature is possible. WBG characteristics include lower on-resistance, faster switching speeds and lower switching losses, higher operating temperatures, better thermal conductivity, smaller size, lower cost, etc.

WBG is dramatically impacting semiconductors. These are used for EV/HEVs, power electronics, charging infrastructures, etc. Bare dies are packaged in discretes or modules. SiC is used for high-voltage apps, while GaN is used for low voltage. The power device market is projected to grow from 2019-24. There are also several GaN inflections, such as P-GaN, LV GaN, HV GaN, etc.

There are several WBG power devices manufacturing solutions, such as CMP (vertical GaN), MOCVD/ALD, deep reactive ion etch, PVD/CVD, transparent wafer handling, etc. These are used in IoT, communications, automotive, power, etc. GaN and SiC WBG semiconductors are largely complementary. Mainstream manufacturing is typically on the 12″ wafer size. Manufacturing equipment has to be customized to specific technology process.

Plans for India
ViSiCon Power Electronics was founded by Dr. Harshad Mehta back in 1994. Sunil Kaul, Senior Adviser, said SiCamore SEMI is leading and accelerating WBG commercialization. Ruttonsha is focusing on Si and GaN. SiC offers major advantages.

With an SiC fab, India can an active player in the next-gen power devices market. Specialty fabs for WBGs like GaN and SiC cost less than $50 million. ViSiCon’s shall bridge the gaps in India’s existing power semiconductor ecosystem. It is the first commercial company to bring SiC epi/wafer/packaging manufacturing to India.

Dr. Michael Francios, Silicon Power Corp., said their SiC development began in 1996 with Northrup-Grumman. SiCamore Semi is a US-based and owned pure-play foundry for advanced materials and power semiconductors. The SiCamore foundry should reach 6″ SiC and processes, and 6″ GaN processes in 2021, moving to 6″ SiC UHP in 2023.

The company has 3.3kV SiC planar-gate power JBSFETs. It is the second foundry for SiC power devices. Target app areas include HVs/EVs, renewable energy, mobile chargers/adapters, rail traction, electric power grid, military, aerospace, etc. The basic technology can also be used for other (650V, 900V, 1200V and 1700V) SiC power projects.

The sun is the primary UV source. UN detection is very important from different apps perspective. These devices are exposed to significantly harsh environments. Here, GaN- and AlGaN-based (and SiC, and ZnO) WBG semiconductors fit in. They remain blind to visible and IR radiation. Niche app areas include biological and chemical analysis, flame detection, space and environmental monitoring, and remote control technologies.

The key value proposition is developing GaN-/AlGaN-based photodetectors of high bandwidths and efficiencies. Key partners to Silicon Power are SiCamore Semi, and Nanoglass Photonics.

Computational software for cyber-physical system design

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Dr. Paul Cunningham, Corporate VP & GM, System Verification Group, Cadence Design Systems, presented on Computational Software for Cyber-Physical System Design, at the 34th International Conference on VLSI Design and 20th International Conference on Embedded Systems (VLSID 2021).

Jaswinder Ahuja.

Jaswinder Ahuja, Corporate VP and India MD, Cadence Design Systems India Pvt Ltd, said there are five generational trends. They are 5G/communications, hyperscale computing, AI/ML, autonomous vehicles, and industrial IoT. Computational software is driving the transformation.

Data is driving the silicon renaissance. We are facing the Big Data challenge. We need to tag the data for training purposes. We need to build the right analytics and flow. The hyperscale era has storage, processing, memory, and networking, that have enabled the data journey. The latest industry announcements are looking at hyperscale computing. Hyperscalers are expanding solutions to the other verticals.

Paul Cunningham.

Dr. Paul Cunningham talked about cyber-physical systems. Alexa today is the third parent in our houses. The future is of intelligently connected devices. This cyber-physical revolution is driving semiconductor growth. Cadence has customer challenges such as intelligence performance, system performance, and silicon performance. They are intelligent, learning systems, that are continuously evolving.

At Cadence, computational software is the core competence. We are creating new systems and products. Cadence has also expanded into multi-physics analysis and simulation. Examples are Clarity 3D EM Solver, and Celsius Thermal Solver. There are the Clarity 3D Transient Solver, and recently acquired the Numeca for computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

We have also improved system performance in 3D ICs. Some other examples are the Palladium and Protium. Palladium is the emulator, and Protium is the prototyping machine. We also offer the Tensilica system-level compute solutions.

Cadence is also applying ML to digital full flow. There is the ML-driven system to optimize the results of the digital implementation flow. Benefits include designer productivity and PPA.

Intel XPUs powering zetascale India

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The 34th International Conference on VLSI Design and 20th International Conference on Embedded Systems (VLSID 2021) commenced virtually in India today.

Ravishankar Kuppuswamy, Corporate VP, Intel Data Platforms Group / GM, Custom Logic Engineering (CLE), Intel, presented the keynote on Digital Democratization: Driving Social Change. It is the process by which digital technology becomes more rapidly accessible to the people. The 1980s to 2000s, it was the PC era. India had a slower start in the PC space. From 2000-2010, the mobile everything era happened. By 2020, we had moved to cloud everything. We are now talking about intelligent everything, with 100 billion connected devices.

Ravishankar Kuppuswamy.

Intel India is changing rural lives, with examples like Churni in Maharashtra and Sahibganj in Jharkhand. Microsoft partnered with AirJaldi for broadband connectivity. Aakash Alokar presented common services point. The availability of technology has started to change lives. Another example is precision agriculture using AI. An example is Bairavanikunta in Kurnool. Farmers received sowing data, and dates, over the simple mobile phones via an SMS. Some of them saw 30 percent better yields.

Intel XPUs power AI in Microsoft Azure. We are collaborating for the best CPUs and FPGAs. The XPU solutions are driving the data centers of the future. Intel is building something that fits in one chip. India is home to 6 million software developers. Intel is committed to accelerate innovation and research through collaboration. There are the Intel OneAPI, Intel FPGA University and Intel Startup Program.

OneAPI is a unified programming model to simplify development across diverse industries. The FPGA University program in India, and the Startup program are supporting innovative, deep-tech startups. Accessible compute is levelling the playing field. XPUs are powering the zetascale India. We are collaborating in solutions development. There is innovation to drive social change.

PC @ Famous Blogger’s Club!

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Friends, I stumbled upon this post recently! Actually, it was an interview that I had done sometime back in 2011, with the Famous Bloggers’ Club.

Some of my old friends from the past may remember this. Nearly everyone had predicted some big things for me. And, most of them have actually come true. Well, here is it again, in case anyone is interested! 😉

Famous Blogger Club: Tell the world something about yourself and what you do in life? (Add Twitter and Facebook profile link, if available).

That’s me! 😉

PC: I have over 20 years experience in the international technology media. I specialize in semiconductors, electronics and telecom, research., etc. I am associated closely with the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) as well.

My blog was selected by Electronics Weekly, UK as the world’s best blog in the Electronic Hardware Category, Dec. 2008 The blog also received an Honorable Mention in the category: Best Technology Blog at:the BlogNet Awards, Feb. 2009.

I was also a good cricketer at school/college, and dabble a bit in astrology, numerology and palmistry. I have also tried my hands at writing plays.

FBC: What was the story behind your blog? How did you start blogging – since when – how did you name your blog).

PC: When I returned to India from overseas in early 2007, I knew there was no good source for me to read up on electronics, semiconductors, etc. So, I decided to start writing or blogging on topics I would require to read. And, hopefully, it would be useful to others too. Since I am extremely bad with names, I just named it after myself.

Here’s a post I wrote some time back on my reasons for blogging:

a) I am really tired of searching Google and Yahoo, and other search engines for information, and hence, decided to write on key information on semiconductors.

b) My blog is also my archive — I am really frustrated at NOT being able to FIND my old articles on the Web. The few, I found on other sites, actually wanted me, as a user, to sign up! To read my own articles… really! So, Pradeep Chakraborty’s Blog now archives all of my articles written over the past two years.

c) India DOES NOT have any magazine on semiconductors yet, and, till I also spun of a semiconductor site off the blog for CIOL, there wasn’t even a semicon portal in India! I hope I have managed to give India a small and decent site on semiconductors!

d) I wanted to be THE resource for the semiconductor industry… again, I have miles to go. It is not easy being a lone ranger 🙂

e) The sheer thrill of doing something difficult — sitting in India — which does not have such detailed blogs on semiconductors, especially. It has really been difficult :), but very thrilling! My colleague, Ms. Usha Prasad, pokes fun at me — saying, go, light your bulb (a la the Sharukh Khan movie, Swades!) Ok, I’ve done nothing of that sort, as this movie showed!

f) My blog posts are all exclusive pieces, as I’m a believer in: great content = great traffic! Again, it is really difficult writing exclusive posts, especially on semiconductors.

g) I wanted to see where I stand, as against my former employers 🙂 — EDN, US (Reed) and EE Times (Global Sources). Yes, I can never match them! 😉 These are the places where I developed myself as a writer and an editor, and I will forever remain indebted to Global Sources and Reed!

h) I also attempted to create a brand out of my name, using semiconductors, essentially, as a platform. I have yet to see how successful it has been 🙂

FBC: Have you earned any money from been a blogger? How did you it – add links to useful websites for making money online. If not. then tell us why you blog?

PC: Yes, some of my blog posts have been and are bought by international magazines such as Nikkei, etc. I have also blogged about companies and their products for payment, and continue to do so. I have also started a separate blog for Photonics, USA.

FBC: Would you tell us about one of your famous posts? Why do you think it’s famous. Is it because of “content – traffic – comments – search engines?

PC: Oh, it has got to be on the Top 10 embedded companies in India, simply because of the great interest in this subject all over the world. A close second would be the Top 20 Solar/PV companies.

May I add that my focus has only been on great content that will be useful to the industries I serve/work in.

FBC: If I asked you to suggest one blogger friend to send him/her a Famous Blogger Club invitation, who you will suggest?

PC: That would have to be either of Ms. Laura Peter, David Lammers or Aaron Hand — from Semiconductor International.

Evolution of and future trends in semiconductors and electronics

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The National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL)-IIT Madras has launched a Special Lecture Series online for the benefit of students affected by the nation-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Jaswinder S. Ahuja, Corporate VP and India MD, Cadence Design Systems India Pvt Ltd, presented on the evolution of and future trends in semiconductors and electronics.

Jaswinder Ahuja
Jaswinder Ahuja

Cadence Design Systems is in the EDA and IP business for chips, packages and bolts. It has over 1,500 patents as a company. IP has nothing to do with patents. Moore’s Law is driving the industry. It has been driving the semiconductor and EDA roadmap for the last 50 years. The cost of implementing any functionality in silicon halves every two years. In reality, it is doubling in every 18 months. A multi-million dollar military flight simulators of the 1980s are sold for $250 today.

If we talk about the semiconductor processes, it used to be measured in microns. Now, it is measured in nm. The current leading edge is 7nm. The next will be 5nm, 3nm, 1.5nm, and then, nobody knows. Semiconductor scaling may end in some point of time. The economics are the key driver to advanced process technologies.

Trends driving semicon
Let us now look at the global trends driving semiconductors. The most profound trend is data. There is the IoT, data centers, servers, in-memory and Big Data, HDDs, DRAM and NAND, as well as the wireless and the wired infrastructures. There is data creation, processing, transmission and storage. There could be over 50 billion IoT devices by 2025. It can also be a trillion! For every living person on this planet, there will be at least seven to eight IoT devices generating streams of data. A lot of different applications and devices are coming up! Its creating momentum as well behind AI/ML. We are creating a virtual cycle of data.

Industrial, automotive and mobile will be driving edge computing. There is the Industry 4.0 as well. You have autonomous vehicles moving around, and a lot of technologies that you can experiment with. The large quantities of data being generated is also driving 5G and antennae. There are huge investments being made in the cloud and datacenters as well. A lot of decision making are also becoming very timing sensitive. Example, if a car gets a signal regarding an obstacle, you have to make a decision in milliseconds.

Some of the other key industry trends include, 5G, automotive, Industry 4.0 driven by ML, AI/OT, and cloud and data centers. These are driving the growth around electronics and semiconductors. With the advent of ML, and the need to process specific streams of data, there are a large number of startups coming up with normal architectures targeted to meet these challenges. Example, there are about 150 startups doing unique process architectures for different kinds of apps.

Moore’s Law is alive and well. It was earlier driven by lithography, novel architectures, device architectures, FinFETs, etc. In the future, it will be the co-optimization of the design and the underlying process technologies. Even further ahead, it will be co-optimization of system and the underlying technologies. There will be heterogeneous system integration.

More than Moore is also scaling over the last 5-10 years. If the digital portion of the chip can benefit from the scaling, and this can be done at 7nm or 5nm, and the analog chip is at 28nm, we can put some MEMS and sensors into a single package and create all kinds of new and interesting apps. Lab-on-chip is an example.

Focus on pervasive intelligence
Pervasive intelligence is a key driver for the industry. It is about autonomous vehicles and systems, intelligent edge and cloud compute, and intelligent networks and mobile devices. You can have autonomous cars, trucks, mining equipment, drones, robots, and personal assistants, etc. These can do predictive maintenance, embedded electronics, video surveillance, medical diagnostics coupled with AR, consumer data analytics, and provide business intelligence. These tasks can be performed over 5G self-organizing networks (SONs), smartphones, industrial Internet (4.0) and data center interconnect (DCI).

There are design elements in the intelligent systems. It involves data processing — Big Data, computer vision, and speech processing, decision and control — in planning, control and safety, and connectivity — in wireless, networking and security. All have ML as a common element. These are all driving the explosion of data and AI computational needs.

There are drivers of convergence in computational software. These are around system design such as algorithms, hardware, software and multi-physics, AI/ML such as data analytics and EDA, such as ICs, packages and PCBs. There is an explosion of data and AI computational needs, leading to exponentially growing cost and complexity of silicon design, and CPU and software performance scaling. We also need to address the thermal heating, so that the system does not break down. EMI is another area that needs to be addressed. Each one of the process nodes has an implication on the complexities and the cost of design.

Lot of opportunities
Cadence is leading the convergence of intelligent system design, with EDA, AI and system design. It is fueled by pervasive intelligence. There are a lot of opportunities for students as there are several global semiconductor companies in India. Several incubators and accelerators have also been set up. There is the Electropreneur Park, FabCi (Fabless Chip Design Incubator), SFAL, KLE Center for Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Incubation Center at IIT Patna. In India, we have many unsolved problems. The challenge is to find the right problem to solve!

There are several projects going on. More needs to be done in the areas such as clean, drinking water, energy conservation, renewable energy and smart energy, waste management, security, education, urban mobility and EV, EV charging and solar, healthcare and medical electronics. Eg., water ATM for clean, affordable water. There is also the Doorastha Analytics at the Electropreneur Park, New Delhi. It is working to optimize the efficiency of solar micro and mini grids. There are interesting problems that require interesting solutions. We need to solve real-world problems with innovative solutions.

Business leaders of tomorrow will be those who can solve the real-world problems in a scalable, profitable and sustainable manner. India is among the fastest-growing electronics market in the world. We have a huge opportunity. There is a huge potential in  the bottom-of-the-pyramid solutions.

Compute, networking, storage to open up, EVs will be new smartphones: InSemi

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InSemi Technology Services, based in Bangalore, India, creates technology solutions that enable businesses and consumers to integrate their physical and digital worlds, accelerate technology adoption and simplify everyday life.

ShreekanthShreekanth Sampigethaya, co-founder and president, InSemitech, said the company started in 2013. We started off in areas such as training and IoT product development. In those days, our focus was largely in what is known as embedded services. Slowly, we started working with a large MNC, and in 2016, we ventured into the VLSI space, along with related software and embedded services for our semiconductor customers.

The company also started doing IP design, foundation IPs, etc. We recently tied up with Mentor, as there is a huge demand from our semiconductor customers to left shift the entire verification process. Emulation, by far, is the one of the most efficient ways of achieving that objective. We are the first player in the Indian market to offer emulation as a service to our customers. We have partnered with the top player and their best-selling solution is on our offering.

Embedded services growing
According to Sampigethaya, the embedded services market has been growing along with the overall growth in the engineering services market and it expected to double by 2025 as per market reports. We were working with a major global company on developing of an IoT board in telematics space. We are proud to announce that we delivered a full spec to solution and became a complete end-to-end player in the embedded services market.

Insemitech also merged Powersquare recently, which was founded by Pavan Pudipeddi. They bring more than two decades of product and solution building capabilities in power electronics, embedded devices, wireless charging, automotive electronics. We are focused on improving our proposition to provide truly end-to-end capabilities to our customers and the merger of PowerSquare with InsemiTech is a testimony to our commitment towards that goal. There are automotive companies who also want to get to the next level. PowerSquare has been an innovation partner to some Tier-1 global auto OEMs for several years.

IoT use cases limitless
On the IoT front, Sampigethaya said they are working with a lot of customers to help build solutions to track equipment, manage workforce more efficiently. The use-cases are just limitless! He said that as long as we are able to show them a positive RoI, the customers are more than happy to commission such projects. There is lot of re-use of technology and expertise in the IoT segment. The more customers that we work with, the more cost efficient it becomes over time. We are at a stage where were can turn around projects in 6 months, as against what a new entrant might take years to build and fine-tune.

Automotives down, but up, soon!
In automotives, the company understands that things are currently down. But, the innovation never really stops for these automotive companies! The R&D work that is happening today will hit the market in a few years. We don’t think that R&D will come to a halt, irrespective of the sales decline. We are seeing exactly that same thing playing out after a short break, when things were extremely uncertain a few weeks back. We are also looking at the oil prices that have drastically come down, and will help the auto industry in the short term.

However, the new environmental policies will drive this industry in the mid- to long-term. We believe that a significant portion of the market will move to EVs by 2030. We are well positioned to take advantage because of the capabilities that we have acquired recently due to the PowerSquare merger. The Prime Minister also wants that all of the gasoline cars should be gone by 2030. We will be contributing towards that objective in our own capacity.

Sampigethaya added that in automotives, the situation is uncertain right now, There are big, long lists of the supply chains, which will re-shape in the years to come, because of the coronavirus and the move from gasoline to EVs. There will also be a drastic change in the people’s thought process and the after-market categories, which will bring new accessories players.

EVs will become the new smartphones, with a huge after-market ecosystem of not just hardware, but potentially, software as well. They will look for partners who are nimble and can deal with complexities and solution building with a tight time frame. We specialize in taking the consumer experience to the next level and have already proven capabilities. In China, all the public transportation is electric. They already have large EV players. However, the shift in India might be faster, as compared to China.

Manufacturing expertise
Regarding manufacturing, Sampigethaya added that with their product development expertise spanning industries such as consumer, industrial, health/fitness and automotive, we see a clear opportunity to offer concept to mass production services for our clients. Given the global political uncertainties and India’s willingness to emerge as a manufacturing hub, we are getting a lot of opportunities to support both established clients and new age startups with their hardware mass production strategies.

We have etched strong strategic partnerships with the India-based EMS companies to complement our existing relationships with the semiconductor and distribution ecosystems to enable us to be cost competitive with China. This is an area of significant growth for us over the next few years.

Semiconductor shift likely
Sampigethaya added that in the semiconductor world, the bulk of our business today comes from the SoCs segment. We do pretty much everything, from RTL to GDS. We work on the implementation of SoCs. We also do packaging and then getting it manufactured in some specific cases. We have also seen some early indications that the South Korean and Japanese companies semiconductor companies are planning a gradual shift to India because of the latest international developments.

The company has recently partnered with a Malaysian company, which also has presence in Singapore and Japan. The two were able to leverage the combined scale, customer access and cultural diversity to services multiple customers, which would have not be possible without collaboration.

He is convinced that something big will happen in the Indian semiconductor industry. It is a great opportunity for us to grow. Unlike in the past, where there were some false starts of semiconductor players and other ecosystems players regarding the move to India, we genuinely believe that given the current global environment and the government commitment in reforming land and labor reforms, will ensure that the semiconductor industry will find India to be a lucrative place, not just in terms of cost advantage, but also because of the other aspects like access to market, favorable taxation, large semiconductor design ecosystem, etc.

The likes of TSMC will continue to grow as more and more de-risking will happen in terms of design and manufacturing expertise. We are all working from home, and if you go by what the industry experts are saying in term of the permanent changes, it will only increase the demand for compute and storage.

Segments opening up
According to Sampigethaya, the first segment that will open up in terms of market will be the compute and networking equipment. We see a definite build-up of demand for computers and various other devices, which have become essential commodities. The households, which didn’t have a personal computer earlier, and used to rely on their office laptops, will start buying computers. The demand for storage, connected storage, high-performance computing, accelerators customised and fined tuned for ML models, FPGAs, etc., are all set to see exponential growth in coming years.

One of the segments that might get impacted in the short term is the automotive semiconductor space. However, we genuinely believe that it’s just a blip and the long-term story is very exciting.

There will be lot more newer players in the new segments of the semiconductor market, and lot more new companies, and work coming our way, making FPGAs and ASIC solutions for data-centre and edge computing, and AI use cases. 5G will also see a rise. Some companies like Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, might see good growth because of the international situation, and also because of the adoption of 5G by the operators.

In the short term, Sampigethaya believes that players like Qualcomm might see some challenges as the phone upgrades will be slower, but eventually, when 5G gathers full steam, they will recoup all the lost business in those years. Google, Amazon, and Facebook will make a lot more chips. Some other large-scale companies will also start making workload-specific chips for their own special needs. That’s the big way that will lift the semiconductor industry for times to come.

Small- to mid-size FPGAs suitable for UI-based apps: Dr. P. Uma Sathyakam

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Friends, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Dr. P. Uma Sathyakam, Assistant Prof. of Microelectronics and Nanotechnology, School of Electrical Engineering, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India. He is also a Senior Member of IEEE Electron Devices and Electronics Packaging Societies.

Semicon industry affected in Asia
We got into a discussion around the global semiconductor industry in the post Covid-19 scenario. Dr. Sathyakam said the semiconductor industry will get affected particularly in Asia. There may be a shift of focus on semiconductor manufacturing from China to India, as India is considering to set up semiconductor manufacturing hubs (fabs) post Covid-19 as this can reduce imports from China.

Dr. P. Uma Sathyakam
Dr. P. Uma Sathyakam

He said: “The idea of setting up a fabrication facility in India is being considered by the stakeholders, as I have witnessed this topic being discussed in panel discussions in some of the premier conferences in India, but nothing has happened till now. However, the present scenario can push firms to re-consider this idea and I feel something concrete will be realised sooner than later.”

The existing hubs in Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Malaysia/Singapore will remain unaffected. Hence, the routing of technology from these countries to India can happen through the manufacturing. The future of the Chinese electronics industry remains a question though!

So, what does he recommend for the global semiconductor industry? “As long as innovation drives the industry, there is nothing to worry about. Nanoelectronic devices and circuits are the future. The overall demand and supply will remain same,” added Dr. Sathyakam.

Electronics industry largely unaffected
On the same token, let’s also examine the global electronics industry in post Covid-19 scenario.

penn1

He said that the demand for electronics will not diminish in this situation. Especially, consumer electronics like smart phones, LCD/LED TVs, etc. will remain unaltered. More demand can be seen on medical equipment.

“As the technology is maturing in this sector, new gadgets and portable medical equipment for on-site diagnosis will drive this sector. Another sector that sees tremendous improvements is the telecom and Internet service providers (ISPs) who can influence the modern working environments in a big way.

“Working from home or remotely is a new concept in India. Much needs to be done to improve the quality of communications and remote accessibility of the Internet. Also, there can be a decline in consumer electronics segment in some parts of the world due to an aging population. India can see electronics manufacturing firms setting up new facilities in the next 3-5 years.”

VLSI for ubiquitous intelligence
Next, is there an industry vision of VLSI for ubiquitous intelligence? According to Dr. Sathyakam, the small- to mid-size FPGAs are suitable for ubiquitous intelligence (UI)-based applications. High-performance FPGAs can be used for larger integration. For large scale commercial supply, ASICs can be developed. The ever increasing demand for work spaces and their accessibility and appeal within the building can be a big driver for this industry.

Many technologies in this area are being developed, including sound and light-based (Li-Fi) communications. Therefore, the integration of these into a central control system for larger buildings is a necessity.

Data transformation reshaping VLSI
On the topic that data transformation is now reshaping VLSI, Dr. Sathyakam felt that data transformation is influencing the way in which processors handle the data. Hardware design is always aimed at low power and high-speed operation. But, the logic and data handling is altered altogether, as the processor has to deal with real-time data. Hence, data processing and storage on the go is a must.

“This means, new technologies like SoP, NoC and even Lab-on-a-Chip, where nano sensors, nano antennae, etc., are integrated into a single package, and can improve the way in which data is handled. So, electronic packaging plays a big role in building of next-generation VLSI systems.”

Innovation in circuits
Now is need for innovation in circuits for sustainability. How are we doing in this area?

Dr. Sathyakam said that with the advent of nanomaterials for electronics, new transistors such as CNTFTs, TFTs, TFETs, FinFETs are being developed.

While silicon is abundant on this planet, the performance of Si MOSFETs was degrading over time. Now, some researchers have proposed nano MOSFETs using double gates (DG) and silicon on insulator (SOI) with 10nm Si thin film channel and HfO2 gate dielectrics, which can perform better than traditional Si MOSFETs.

The sustainability of these devices can be thought as good or better as the materials used to make these devices are robust ones with exceptional physical and electronic properties. As the device dimensions go into the nano scale regime, their sustainability improves.

Boost for DRAM/NAND and storage
DRAM/NAND and storage are likely to have some boost in the years ahead. Dr. Sathyakam said: “The dynamics of memory will change if the spin-based devices emerge, where research is underway now. This is because, spin transistors can act as both computational elements and memory due to the nature of spin of electrons. So, this can save both cost and chip area.

“In future, it may be possible to integrate both microprocessor and all memory (RAM/HDD) into a single package. This means there will be no separate hard disk and cables connecting it to the processor.”

Folks are also said to be investing in Industry 4.0 now. He added that the start-ups will rise into more mature firms. The investment outlook seems to be fine. New start-ups can flourish in the areas of AI, edge computing, medical devices, IoT and IoT services.

Edge intelligence
On the edge intelligence, he said this are can be thought of as a ‘hub and spoke’ model. Many sensors, devices and systems can be connected and data can be collected from them and stored in one place.

However, the earlier idea of cloud-based systems can be replaced with the edge intelligence systems. This is basically accessing data from anywhere in the internet from the actual place it is stored, rather than copying or moving it to different servers to access locally.

New architectures and protocols are being developed for edge connected devices. The full potential of IoT can be realised through edge intelligence. Specific circuits and upgrading of existing circuits for edge enabled technologies is a must.

Rebooting Indian electronics manufacturing post Covid-19

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Messe Munchen India organized a webinar on: Rebooting Electronics Manufacturing- Surviving the Covid-19 Crisis and Future Planning.

The participants were: A.M. Devendranath, AVP & Head – Energy Vertical, Feedback Consulting, Amandeep Singh, Head Purchase – Digital Appliances, Samsung, Amrit Manwani, President, ELCINA, and CMD, Sahasra Group (AM), Atul Lall, MD, Dixon Technologies India Ltd, Dr. Sreeram Srinivasan, CEO, Syrma Technology, P.V. Moorthy, Technical Advisor, BPL Ltd, and Vinod Sharma, MD, Deki Electronics Ltd. Rajoo Goel, Secretary General, Electronics Industries Association of India (ELCINA), was the moderator.

Elcina

Goel requested them to talk about the supply chain and government support. The post Covid-19 scenario will be more challenging for the EMS suppliers where the manufacturing cost will reduce and an increase in the efficiency will be required. Currently, India contributes to <1 percent of global EMS.

P.V. Moorthy, Technical Advisor, BPL, said that the impact of Covid-19 is huge. Raw materials are hit, and so is the payment cycle. The logistics challenge is also there. We need to make use of this opportunity to reboot a robust electronics manufacturing platform. There should be transparency in the system with SCM in place, in India.

Large component investment needed
Vinod Sharma, Vinod Sharma, MD, Deki Electronics Ltd, said that they are planning to do things differently as a components manufacturer. We have a lot of constraints in the resources. Our customers are also coming back to work. Cash is also a constraint. The more you communicate across the supply chain, the better it will be.

We will allocate what we can, based on what the customers want. There should be some policy combinations that need to be made. It will reduce a lot of time. We need to through out the annual budget, and have a weekly rollover plan. We hope to be out of the current situation in 8-10 weeks. We have a lot of opportunities, from the other sectors as well, besides, mobile/TV, etc.

The Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) scheme is led by states. The states will take responsibility for all the clearances. We have a successful supply chain in auto components, led by Maruti. We need to ensure there is a large component investment made in this country. This is a national responsibility. This new roadmap should be led by the industry and supported by the government.

Atul Lall, MD, Dixon Technologies India, added that there will be significant opportunities in the post-Covid-19 situation. Three things have gone up. Electronics consumption, acceleration in components, and exports. There should be more opportunites for components. India should be ready to take them on.

Multiply vendor base
Amrit Manwani, President, ELCINA, and CMD, Sahasra Group, noted that we will be able to make electronic products and do business with friendly countries, especially in medical electronics, etc. We also have bonds with African nations, and that presents opportunities as well, along with the Middle East countries. You also have to multiply your vendor base.

We should also not forget the role of MSMEs. They have to look at the challenge of going overseas. We also need to put in more efforts in R&D. Workforce management will become critical. WFH will need to be looked at carefully. Only the fittest will survive. Banks may be reluctant to give funds as they have a system.

Wave of transitions
Sreeram Srinivasan, CEO, Syrma Technology, said it is mandatory that we have to transform the way we do business. We are now going to have wave after wave of transitions. Those who transform quickly will be the leaders. You also need to go digital, and now! Social distancing has become a norm.

Next, we now need to go short term! You now have to strategize in the shorter terms. We also need to go green. We have to stress on values. There is a need to define a greater vision for your business. Be generous, but don’t be charitable.

There is a bright future for all of us, post Covid-19. China+1 will become the new mantra for a lot of companies. People are bugging us regarding when we are going to restart. Agriculture will be a very big area, besides space science. Be ready to transform your business.

Amandeep Singh, Head Purchase – Digital Appliances, Samsung, said that there are experiences in sourcing. There will be resetting in factories. This is the peak time that we sell our products. We now have to look for opportunities on how to generate demand. The full workforce cannot join the companies. The overheads will also be going up. Localisation is one of the biggest opportunities. New segments are opening up. We have to push our resources. Sales forecasting will now need to be very accurate. We have to diversify our supply chains.

Making use of opportunity
A.M. Devendranath, AVP & Head, Energy Vertical, Feedback Consulting, said that the pandemic has changed the way we are living and going to work. Social distancing will be there on our minds. The use of electronics and electronic products will only go through the roof. How can we make use of this opportunity?

The Indian market for electronics is set to grow leaps and bounds. China has been exporting most of the electronics worldwide. We now need to be able to match that. There are many contender nations as well. The pandemic has escalated our timelines. We should be able to come up in 5-6 months regarding mega projects in electronics. Any future planning needs very good industry data that is continuously updated.

We have a wider opportunity before us. Electronics manufacturing can be a huge pillar. We need more partnerships and mega factories in the future. We need to have a vision for the sweet spots of Indian manufacturing.

IESA recommends NISER, NEC to boost electronics and semicon

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India’s dependency on imports for its electronics product needs, from smartphones to supercomputers, has been on the rise. The India Electronics & Semiconductor Association (IESA) has put together a report to capture the current status, market trends and opportunities to work closely with Indian Government ( MeitY ), and to promote electronics manufacturing in India.

ESDMJitendra Chaddah, senior director, Operations and Strategic Relations, Intel India and chairman, IESA, said the demand for electronics products is growing very fast. The report underlines the strengthening of India’s design capabilities. We should enhance our design capabilities, and go to other cities as well, besides the 2-3 cities for now.

The electronics industry is a sunshine market. The market grew at a CAGR of 14 percent from 2016-19. Demand has been growing at a CAGR of 12.6 percent from 2016-19. The exports will grow at a CAGR of 30 percent over the next 5 years. We may be around 3-3.5 percent in GDP right now. We expect to move up to 6-6.5 percent over the next 5 years.

The manufacturing segment has grown by 19 percent . The expected rate of growth will be 21.5 percent by 2025, moving to $260 billion. India’s import demand on finished goods will decrease by 29 percent.

The low value manufacturing and high value manufacturing, and electronics design are among the key constituents. LVM will grow from $73.7 billion in 2019 to $237 billion in 2025, HVM will grow from $7.3 billion in 2019 to $23 billion in 2025, and electronics design will grow from $20 billion in 2019 to $60 billion in 2025.

Chip design grew from $13 billion to $20 billion from 2016-2019 at 15.4 percent CAGR. It is expected to grow to $60 billion by 2025 at 20.1 percent CAGR. It has become a great source of foreign exchange.

The way forward can be to provide incentives and support design companies to grow:
* Subsidize training and internships
* EODB — simplify transfer pricing
* Upscale capabilities of work force
* Incentivize research, I/P development and product engineering
* NETRA model to be implemented across the country.

Among the high-value-add / domestic products, only 9 percent (2025) of the total products are high value-add. We need to develop products that have domestic value addition > 60 percent . From 2016, at $ 4 billion, we moved to 2019, at $7 billion. We expect to move to $23 billion by 2025.

We need innovation-led design and design-led manufacturing. Design innovation and IP will help create high value-add products. There will be focus on new use cases, such as medical, agriculture, AV/EV, environment, AI/ML, etc.

We also need to look at 1K-10K-100K start-up initiative. The 1K start-ups will do 10K IP creation, and generate Rs 100K crore of business value. India has 100 fabless companies and 900 electronics product companies. There is Rs. 7,000 crore of seed fund. We also need to expand the SFAL Model. There should be 1 fabless incubators/accelerators each in five regions. We also need to expand the Electropreneurs Park model, with one EP in each of the 36 States and UTs.

The overall impact should be 50 percent increase in high value-add products by 2025. We should be able to make $35 billion from the current projection of $23 billion.

Increase value addition in LVM products
India should increase the value addition in LVM products. The current value addition is ~17 percent in domestic production. Activities contributing include assembly, testing, PCB, PCBA, etc. We are making the recently announced PLI scheme based on value addition. India should also incentivize the setting up of ATMP facilities, display fabs and display module manufacturing, LED manufacturing fab, power electronics fab, etc.

There should be debt venture fund for working capital. There should be an interest relief of 3 percent on the financing cost. The impact will be $60 billion additional value creation by moving from 17 percent to 40 percent . It will also help build-up of the components ecosystem and supply chain.

Dr. Satya Gupta, vice chairman, IESA, added that there are some key recommendations from the IESA. There is need to incentivize the training, internship, IP creation for design companies. We need to create a $1 billion seed fund for 1K-10K-100K startup program, and geographic inclusions of all states and UTs for innovation in electronics.

We also need to incentivize setting up ATMP, display, LED, power electronics fab for higher value addition. We must make the PLI incentives link to value add %; and encourage manufacturers with high value-add. There will be debt venture fund and interest relief for working capital and investments in manufacturing.

The IESA has recommended setting up a National Electronics Commission (NEC), on the lines of ISRO. Such a commission can help bring all of the electronics- and semiconductor-related activities under one umbrella. It has also suggested setting of up a National Institute of Semiconductor & Electronics Research (NISER), on the lines of IMEC, Belgium, to the Government of India.

We can increase GDP percentage from 3.3 percent to 8.2 percent. We have the potential to create 1 crore jobs. There will be $60 billion – $100 billion reduction in imports. India can also create products for new use cases, such as medical, agriculture, defense, 5G or 6G, AI-ML, automation, EV, etc. We have to convert the semiconductor design talent to fabless product companies.

NEF to provide common platform for electronics/semicon in India

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The VLSI Society of India (VSI), in collaboration with the India Electronics & Semiconductors Association (IESA), announced the Northern Region Electronics Forum (NEF) during Industry Day at Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi on 21st September 2019.

NEF aims to provide a common platform for electronics/semiconductors industries, academia, research, and government bodies to expand the electronics/semiconductor ecosystem in the northern region of India.

Preet Yadav makes a point! On the dias (L-R): Pradeep Chakraborty, Jaswinder Ahuja, Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao and Sanjay Gupta.

Preet Yadav, VLSID Steering committee member – VLSI Society of India and Analog Practice Head, Wipro Ltd, said it’s a dream come true after almost four years of rigorous efforts, which started at VLSID 2016 conference at Kolkata, received a global boost during VLSID 2019 conference earlier this year at Delhi and became a reality today.

Stressing on importance of collaboration, he mentioned that industry, academia, research and government bodies are doing a lot of innovative work. If we bring together all these experts, we can reach out to bigger level of innovations with much less efforts and time.

He mentioned this journey was not possible without support from Jaswinder Ahuja and Sanjay Gupta. He thanked Prof. Ramgopal Rao for extending support to launch this forum and mentioned that IIT Delhi will be playing crucial role in this journey.

He thanked Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, Jaswinder Ahuja, Sanjay Gupta, and Pradeep Chakraborty to be part of this ceremony. He also thanked the participants from various institutions for an interactive discussion on what next the NEF should target to best utilize this common platform.

Prof. Ramgopal Rao, director IIT Delhi, talked about the various possibilities of engagements with IIT Delhi, along with different government schemes like the Prime Minister Fellowship.

Jaswinder Ahuja, Corporate VP & MD, Cadence Design Systems, India, mentioned that as the technology is shrinking further, the focus is shifted towards more on system innovation than the technology front.

Pradeep Chakraborty, semicon/telecom consultant, requested the audience to try and develop a traffic-related product, to solve problems, while sharing an incident in Singapore that was related to the driverless car.

Sanjay Gupta, VP and India Country Manager, NXP Semiconductors, stressed on need of single standard for upcoming products like battery charging, automotive driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Some invited guests at the NEF event.

NEF will work with associated partners on:

Knowledge Sharing Seminar/Workshop on innovative technologies by experts
• Sessions by experts from across the globe
— Professors from reputed universities across the globe
— Product architects from semiconductor industry

Research Collaboration
• Joint research collaboration on common topics of interest

Joint Mentorship
• Joint mentorship by industry/academia for Ph. D scholars
• Internship in semiconductor industry

Participation in programs of interest
• Industry participation in academia events
• Academia participation in industry events

Startups/Entrepreneurs incubation
• Guidance to young entrepreneurs and Startups

Standardization of new technologies/ideas/processes
• Common interest group formation to work towards standardization of technologies/ideas/processes

Infrastructure resource sharing
• Sharing of resources like labs available in Industry & Academia based on mutual consent

Industry-ready pipeline creation
• Participation in curriculum review by industry
• To hold sessions about future skill requirements in
Industry to create an industry-ready engineering pipeline
• Focused skill placements drives

Latest government scheme proliferations
• Camps on latest government funding schemes for faculty and research scholars

•Industry-academia related schemes.

Please reach out to NEF @ north.electronicsforum@gmail.com!