TowerJazz is looking for new Sensing Technologies
18 September, 2017
Dr. Itzhak Edrei, President of TowerJazz in an exclusive interview to Techtime: We are already cooperating with major players in the development of RF and image sensors for autonomous vehicles"
TowerJazz from Migdal Haemek, Israel, is one of the most dynamic pure-play foundry companies in recent years, and now it begins now a new move. “We have identified sensors as a rapidly growing market in the coming years and we are looking now for new sensing technologies for our semiconductors offering,” told Dr. Itzhak Edrei, the President of TowerJazz, to Techtime. “Sensors are expected to be the next growth engine. Today the industry needs sensors everywhere. The autonomous driving will employ multiple amount of sensors to monitor the surrounding environment around the car and to process it. We are already cooperating with major players in the development of RF sensors and image sensors for autonomous vehicles.”
TowerJazz manufactures integrated circuits (ICs) for growing markets such as consumer, industrial, automotive, medical and aerospace and defense. It has developed customizable process platforms such as: SiGe, BiCMOS, mixed-signal/CMOS, RF CMOS, CMOS image sensor, integrated power management (BCD and 700V), and MEMS. TowerJazz operates two manufacturing facilities in Israel (150mm and 200mm), two in the U.S. (200mm) and three facilities in Japan (two 200mm and one 300mm).
During the last years TowerJazz was transformed from a company that struggled with a constant state of financial crisis into a dynamically growing supplier of semiconductor production services. It went from $505 million sales in 2013 to $1,249 million in 2016 with staggering 35% CAGR. Last month the company announced a record revenues of $345 million in the second quarter of 2017, almost doubling the industry growth forecast. This brought TowerJazz to be ranked number 6 in the list of the top 10 pure-play foundry companies, made by IC Insights.
Edrei: “Our turnaround strategy involved business and technology, but the major change came following our decision to be an analog company. Tower started as a digital semiconductor company, but in the digital market you need to adopt new process technology every 18 months. It means that without massive financial backing you run out your resources very quickly. When we moved to analog, we acquired Tier One costumers for long term, we acquired Jazz Semiconductors with its RF technology, and later we acquired production capacity from companies like Maxim and Panasonic.”
What are your growth engines?
“I believe that we are the world leaders in CMOS Image Sensors and RF Semiconductors. Those are very unique and complicated technologies with very high profit margins. We have developed an effective capabilities of technology transfer that allow us to embed new technologies into the costumer’s process, and we gained a solid reputation of a company that knows how to protect its costumers IP assets. Beside, we are always looking for new acquisitions, especially to gain new analog technologies or expanding our production capacity. Today we explore new opportunities, mainly in the new emerging space.”
Recently you signed an agreement with the Chinese Tacoma Semiconductor to build together a new 8-inch Fabrication Facility in Nanjing.
“China is an important market for us. Approximately 40% of the global semiconductor output pass through Chine this way or another. This is a $120 billion market, but the local industry can support barely 10% of it. The government is working hard to build local production capacity and i believe that in the future Chine will tell companies that if they want to sell in China – the will have to produce in China. We are putting a lot of efforts in China, and the Tacoma agreement is an important building block in this strategy.”