Tower Semiconductor, Ltd.
(NASDAQ: TSEM, TASE: TSEM), and its fully owned U.S. subsidiary Jazz Semiconductor,
Inc., today announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with
SVTC Technologies that will
expand Tower and Jazz's Aerospace and Defense (A+D) MEMS customer base while
providing SVTC's A+D customers with access to select Jazz technology and
U.S. manufacturing facilities. The collaboration will make possible the integration
of advanced CMOS with existing RF and mixed-signal devices, enabling multiple
functions on a single piece of silicon in A+D applications such as aircraft
radar and communications devices, among others.
Under the agreement, elements of Jazz's MEMS friendly CMOS baseline will be
made available to SVTC A+D customers to facilitate the insertion of new
modules into a proven CMOS flow. In addition, Jazz will make available components
of its design enablement infrastructure to facilitate SVTC customers early design
activity. In addition, the companies will implement a fast transfer methodology
to allow Jazz customers to perform R+D at SVTC and provide SVTC customers
a fast path to production at Jazz.
MEMS (Micro-electro-mechanical systems) devices are one of the fastest growing
technology areas, integrating mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics
on a common silicon substrate. They have proven to be a key enabling technology
in A+D applications in markets such as transportation and telecommunications.
According to a global forecast of the overall MEMS market by the Electronics
Industry Market Research and Knowledge Network, the worldwide market for MEMS
devices and production equipment was worth an estimated $5 billion in 2005,
and will increase to $12.5 billion through 2010, an average annual growth rate
(AAGR) of more than 20%.
"This partnership brings a strong synergy between the companies in developing
and expanding our MEMS capabilities," said Joe Bronson, Chief Executive
Officer of SVTC. "Jazz already has a very strong footprint in the Aerospace
and Defense industry and this collaboration will enable us to bring together
their advanced CMOS with our combined MEMS expertise to develop tools and processes
to meet the needs of our customers' next-generation applications."
"We are pleased to form this alliance with SVTC to enable their A+D
customers to gain access to our U.S. manufacturing capability for MEMS technology
while offering our customers a wider breadth of development options through
SVTC helping both companies gain even more traction in this strong growth market.
This is an important step in becoming a world leader in full flow MEMS manufacturing,"
said Russell Ellwanger, Tower's Chief Executive Officer. "I am additionally
thrilled to again partner with Joe Bronson, a long time friend and mentor, and
hence to grow our respective companies to the benefit of our customers."
Jazz was one of the first pure-play foundries with MEMS manufacturing capability
allowing for the industrial scaling of MEMS products in an advanced CMOS foundry
environment. Tower and Jazz continue to augment their portfolio of specialty
silicon technology including MEMS manufacturing along with their suite of analog
and RF CMOS, high speed SiGe, and high voltage processes enhancing the ability
of their customers to create and bring to market more highly integrated analog