NEWSLETTER — JUNE 2015
Message from Mr. Russell Ellwanger—TowerJazz CEO & TPSCo Chairman
Japanese cutlery is the best in the world. It is simple in style with an amazing steel blade unrivaled elsewhere. When buying a signature Japanese knife, final sharpening is always performed by hand, after purchase—in the shop in full view of the customer by a master with his apprentice at his side.
Japanese sharpening stones come from recognized quarries. Exclusive quarries yield the highest quality stones with each stone receiving the personal “hanko” of the quarry owner certifying not only the quarry, but that the stone is the highest quality that the quarry can produce. Additional stones accompany the sharpening stone. These stones produce the various slurries required during the sharpening stages. They also come with “hankos” certifying their origin and quality.
I was reading a book on tool care, written by a Japanese Master, a “Shokunin.” He explained the ways of the Shokunin. It is not simply about the quality of the product. Production must be performed with efficiency, a required cycle time so to speak, with no scrap. Were a Shokunin to throw away a piece due to dissatisfaction with his or her work, they would no longer be a Shokunin. A Shokunin must CREATE a quality product efficiently! Scrap (DESTRUCTION) is simply not done.
At New Year’s, a Shokunin will put the tools of their craft in a special place in their home or shop and set rice cakes before them as an expression of thanks for enabling their craft. A Shokunin respects both the work being created and the tools used to create the work. Tools align with the skill of the craftsman. For example only the highest-level chef will use the highest-level blade. To not be a master and use a master’s tool would disrespect the tool.
The “Shokunin” mind set permeates all levels of Japanese society and is the basis for why quality in Japanese factories is always of such a high level. Respect and responsibility for one’s work place and tools is taught from the youngest age.
My family experienced this when we had the privilege to live in Japan. Our youngest daughter attended a Buddhist run kindergarten. One part of the school uniform was an Oshibori (a wash cloth) in a plastic container. Every day began with each student wiping down his or her desk with the Oshibori, and every day ended with the same. The work place was the students responsibility to keep clean and hence to respect.
We are greatly blessed to have TowerJazz Panasonic within our corporate family. We, as an entity, have gained and continue to benefit as we learn, understand and implement more of the Japanese relationship to the workplace and of their commitment to a quality standard intrinsically tied to efficiency.
We have added additional focus to our corporate quality measures. The Quality Group, itself, is under new leadership. Mr. Ilan Rabinovich, a skilled and vastly experienced technologist has transferred from Business Group General Manager to Corporate Quality Vice President reporting to me. He is in the process of appointing new quality directors at each site—all proficient, proactive technologists with diversified, in depth fab experience. Our quality focus is aligned with the slogan, “Safety protects lives. Quality protects jobs.”
We work diligently to achieve the highest quality performance through cohesive, concerted efforts of efficiency and align our tools, skillsets and craft to the highest level of production.
We welcome your input and cowork. Thank you!
Strong revenue growth and margins
- Revenues of $226 million, up 71% year over year, including 33% organic growth (non-Micron and non-Panasonic)
- Organic top 10 customers’ revenue growth of approximately 31% year-over-year
- Record design wins for the first quarter and masks entering the factories, with masks’ growth of 37% year-over-year and 45% including TPSCo 3rd party business.
Quarterly Financial Highlights
- EBITDA of $51 million, 86% higher than the first quarter of 2014
- Recorded $81 million non-GAPP gross profit, reflecting 36% margins and an 81% year over year improvement. Targeting 40% by Q4’15.
- Non-GAAP net income of $50 million 2.5x times vs. 2014 first quarter
- Strong balance sheet financial ratios and record shareholders’ equity of $292 million, with 49% increase quarter over quarter
- Net debt reduction to $162 million vs. $406M as of March 31, 2014 with present net debt to EBITDA ratio of 0.8X
- Cash on hand as of March 31, 2015 of $134M
Q2 2015 Revenue Guidance
- Mid range guidance of $235 million
- Targeting quarter over quarter growth throughout the year
TowerJazz Annual Revenues 2005–2015*
* 2015 annual revenues are based on Q2’15 mid range guidance
TPSCo celebrates first anniversary, enhances technology offerings and its position as leading pure-play foundry in Japan
Guy Eristoff, TPSCo CEO
TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (TPSCo) celebrated its first anniversary in April. We are very grateful for the terrific support and cooperation of our customers and shareholders.
TPSCo offers leading edge automotive, imaging, RFSOI, power management, embedded NVM and high voltage discrete process flows for differentiated consumer, automotive and industrial applications. Turnkey services include up front design, back end packaging and test as well as standard foundry wafer fab integrated circuit manufacturing using TowerJazz and Panasonic assets.
TPSCo’s technology development center, (PTC) has sucessfully replicated 14 major process platforms from seven IDM customers. We are also currently qualifying the TowerJazz TS18PM Low Rdson LDMOS Epi platform with integrated zero mask adder MTP NVM. Additionally a dual gate HVCMOS variant is being qualified.
All TS18 product family PDKs will be available for mass production in Q32015 using the same PDK IP blocks, and targeting the same SPICE FOMs as the TowerJazz process. Dual-fab, dual region qualified processes support a robust business continuity planning strategy for our automotive and industrial customers, as well as any other customer who demands dual sourcing.
TPSCo has released multiple feature-rich PDKs for foundry customers in the past six months. These include 110nm CMOS, 65nm RFCMOS, 45nm CMOS, 110nm CIS, and 65nm CIS processes. Multiple customers have started designing products with these easy to use PDKs and iPDKs.
Of note, TPSCo is working with TowerJazz to develop a new 300mm RFSOI process, and has achieved world-leading RonCoff performance in just six months. TPSCo plans to release the “Masterswitch” advanced RFSOI PDK for this process in Q42015.
In addition, TPSCo’s Dr. Kenji Okada presented an advanced TDDB reliability study at the International Reliability and Physics Symposium (IRPS) 2015, held on April 19-23 in Monterey, CA, USA. The paper on GOx reliability was entitled, “Intrinsic Mechanism of Non-Linearity in Weibull TDDB Lifetime and its Impact on Lifetime Prediction.” This well-received study was a solid contribution to IRPS 2015.
On March 14, 2015 the Shinkansen, (bullet train) linking Tokyo to Toyama opened for business. Now it takes only about 2 hours and 15 minutes from the Tokyo station to Toyama and the Hokuriku area. This is a major business benefit for TPSCo as it permits convenient transport from the Tokyo metropolitan area. We are pleased this will provide us with the opportunity to introduce our fabs and processing technology to even more customers.
Moving forward into our second year, TPSCo is working hard to enhance its position as a pure-play foundry with world-renowned Japanese quality and IP security.
Design Enablement—Design it once; design it right.
The proliferation of specialty ICs in consumer and infrastructure electronics over the last decade has catalyzed the convergence of analog applications with customized semiconductor technology from foundries such as TowerJazz. Other than the obvious design-to-specification requirement, three key requirements come to the forefront: performance, time-to-market, and manufacturability.
The days when design teams could afford the luxury of evaluating tens of prototypes on a single shuttle are long gone, and the first-time design success approach, such as in the “Design it once; design it right” slogan, has taken a firm foothold in the industry. TowerJazz has been a leader in enabling the realization of this mantra. We provide a design enablement platform that complements our sophisticated technology and makes this possible. This platform includes process design kits (PDKs), IPs, reference flows and dedicated design services for our process technologies.
Keys for achieving the goals of performance and optimization are the accuracy and scalability of the compact models. A compact model is essentially a set of analytical equations that describe the electrical, electromagnetic and thermal behavior of a semiconductor device, implemented in a SPICE-like simulation tool. A good match between model and silicon yields an accurate prediction of the circuit level figures-of-merit, such as the gain of low noise amplifiers (LNAs) and the efficiency of buck converters.
Likewise, a model that can be accurately scaled across different sizes enables the designers to optimize the performance of their circuits. For example, in our unique scalable LDMOS model in the Power Management platform, the on-resistance can be continuously traded-off with the breakdown voltage. An often ignored linkage in some foundry models is related to the layout.
TowerJazz PDKs ensure that the layout generated from the parameterized cell (p-cell) is closely linked to the model used in the schematic view. Additionally, the advanced parasitic extraction capabilities allow for custom layouts and routing effects to be accurately simulated and optimized before tape-in.
Once the design has been conceptualized on a schematic canvas, it is the capability and flexibility of the design tools and support that determine how fast the layout blueprint (GDS) can be generated. At TowerJazz, in addition to the feature-rich PDK, we complement the offerings by supporting a comprehensive set of analog and mixed-signal design capabilities provided by our EDA partners. These can be as simple as providing p-cell options for dummy gates to improve matching and silicon-optimized automated guard rings for various types of device body isolation built right into the p-cell property GUIs. Physical verification decks can be efficiently set-up and run either through batch processing or an interactive form.
In recent years, TowerJazz has added a rich suite of reference design flows and online training webinars to help reduce the learning curve for new users of our technology, while guiding them on PDK-oriented tool configuration and usage. Guiding our customers from concept to tape-in is our world-class design support eco-system.
Our online customer portal is available 24/7. With this portal, one can access File Exchange, which allows you to search, view and download technical documents and design libraries.
Logged in, you can also securely transfer forms, design data and other files. In addition, our Design Support Engineers (DSEs) are available to accompany you from the initial phase through the entire design flow up to production ramp, providing unmatched customer service. At our Design Center, we have experienced designers who have unique insights into the capabilities of our technology, and can assist with consulting and designing blocks or entire chips.
The omnipresent drive to reduce costs in the semiconductor industry requires design teams to optimize their designs for variations in the manufacturing process as wells as forexternal factors such as temperature, voltage and ESD.
Over the last decade, TowerJazz has developed a rich suite of Monte Carlo modeling techniques to ensure that designs can be simulated and optimized at the extremes of process and key parameter variations. A target focus of the PDKs released last year was the modeling of 2nd order effects, such as substrate and safe-operating regime checks.
In addition, we have begun offering a unique solution for advanced ESD and power domain checking in our latest 0.13μm and 0.18μm products.
For more information on our design enablement offerings, please contact Ofer Tamir (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Samir Chaudhry (email@example.com).
Mr. Gary Saunders
Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales
In this issue, we feature a message from Gary Saunders, our Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales. Gary joined the TowerJazz executive team in February 2015, with over thirty years of global sales leadership experience in the semiconductor industry.
TowerJazz’s mission is to bring to market specialty foundry solutions that provide unique value to our customers by attentively listening to and proactively providing for their needs, through attracting and retaining the best global talent to serve them. As the company’s face to our customer, and your champion inside TowerJazz, our global sales organization plays an integral role in orchestrating the efforts of 2800 employees passionately focused on achieving this mission.
Our customer-facing organization includes Sales, Customer Solutions staff, and Design Support Engineers across the world, and in every TowerJazz facility. Providing unique value in the highly competitive markets we serve requires our sales team to possess product, applications, technical, operational, and commercial expertise that assures our customers receive best-in-class support and service. We are honored to serve over 200 customers for their design, development, and manufacturing needs.
From our inception twenty-two years ago, with a single fab in Migdal Haemek, Israel (Fab 1), TowerJazz has grown to become the industry’s largest specialty foundry, with a global footprint. Our strength lies in the diversity of our customers, and their passion to bring the best solutions to market, which fuels the innovative spirit and customer-driven mindset of our global R&D, process development, design, manufacturing, and sales teams. Today, TowerJazz is at the cusp of a game-changing opportunity for our customers, our company, employees, and shareholders. Consider the following:
- The Internet-of-Things is driving explosive growth in connected devices, where TowerJazz has the industry’s leading RF solutions, including SiGe BiCMOS and RF CMOS technologies, featuring our SOI switch process platform.
- The continued quest for efficient energy and demand for “green” technologies in automobiles, lighting, industrial, and consumer applications requires complex power management solutions, where the industry’s leaders come to us for unique, customized solutions, using our breadth of power platforms, from 60 to 700 volts.
- Our CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) business, the established leader in the high end photography, medical, industrial, and automotive markets, has been further bolstered by the formation of TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Company (TPSCo) which brings us the industry’s leading sensor technology, with 65nm on 300mm wafers.
- Industry leaders come to TowerJazz’s TOPs Business Unit (Transfer Optimization and Process Services) for our unique capabilities, which allow our customers to expand capacity, or progress from R&D to a production line, leveraging the expertise of our renowned engineering teams, established transfer methodologies, IP protection, and capacity flexibility.
As leader of our global sales organization, and on behalf of TowerJazz employees around the world, I thank you, our customers, for your commitment and contribution to our success…and invite you to be part of our very exciting future.
TowerJazz and TPSCo Worldwide Technical Global Symposium (TGS) 2015 to take place in Korea, Japan, and the US
Join us to learn more about our extended and advanced technology offerings across all of our specialty analog business units. In addition, you will hear about our unique capabilities at our worldwide manufacturing facilities and take part in an engaging forum for discussion with industry peers and company executives!
TGS 2015 dates and locations:
- Sep. 10 — Seoul, South Korea
- Oct. 20 — Tokyo, Japan
- Nov. 18–19 — Newport Beach, CA, US
With our vision in mind of being the world leader in specialty foundry solutions, we are focusing on our mission to bring to market those solutions that provide unique value to our customers by attentively listening to and proactively providing for their needs, and by attracting and retaining the best global talent to serve them. At TGS, we will share our plans for strategic growth, technology leadership and worldwide capacity expansion.
At each event, TowerJazz CEO, Mr. Russell Ellwanger, will provide a keynote and TowerJazz and TPSCo executives will present highlights of our technology roadmap and advanced specialty process offerings as well as our business strategy, performance and company achievements. At select venues, invited speakers from leading semiconductor companies will share perspectives on industry trends and their engagements with TowerJazz and TPSCo.
Sponsors at TGS events include:
More details on TGS 2015 will be announced soon.
PARTICIPATION AT INDUSTRY EVENTS
Image Sensors 2015
IS, the key annual image sensors technical and business conference in Europe, attracts a wide range of over 100 companies from across the digital imaging supply chain. This event focuses on technical aspects of image sensors, placing the innovations and technology in a business context.
TowerJazz has participated in and sponsored this conference since its inception in 2008. This year we had a joint booth with TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductors Co. (TPSCo). During the conference, we conducted back to back meetings with our European customers and defined new projects and activities with them for the coming year
We also met new potential customers who came to the conference mainly to meet with us. IS2015 proved to be a good venue for TowerJazz and TPSCo to maintain and generate awareness of our specialty pure play foundry offerings.
Our CIS technology meets the demand for optical sensors used in consumer, industrial, medical and automotive applications.
Our skilled experts support the customization of pixels per project needs and our superior performance (dark current, low noise and dynamic range) enables a rich offering for various digital imaging applications. We have demonstrated leading CIS technology for high-end cameras and we are a proven leader in X-ray CMOS image sensors with the largest market share. Through TPSCo, we have access to 65nm 1.12μm pixel technologies, including the most advanced image sensor technologies.
Visit us at IS Auto 2015 on June 23-25, booth #10
TowerJazz and BrightWay Vision, a provider of groundbreaking vision technology for vehicles, will be showcasing a patented gated imaging technology for automotive imaging applications. Come learn more about TowerJazz and TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Co.’s (TPSCo’s) CMOS Image Sensor and Automotive offerings.
PARTICIPATION AT INDUSTRY EVENTS
TowerJazz and JSTF participated in GOMACTech on March 23-26, 2015.
GOMACTech is a conference established primarily as a forum to announce and review developments in microcircuit applications for government systems and focuses on advances in systems being developed by the Department of Defense and other government agencies.
GOMACTech is considered the top aerospace and defense (A&D) conference for TowerJazz, providing a unique opportunity for exhibiting and industry networking with numerous government agencies (which include the AFRL, Army, Navy, DARPA, NSA, DMEA, and DTRA, to name a few) in a single location.
Each year, a major highlight is participation in technical sessions where many TowerJazz A&D customers present their publications as well as discuss their successes and technical breakthroughs in supporting their government customers, greatly enabled by TowerJazz fabrication and engineering services.
The primary TowerJazz technologies that are utilized for GOMACTech presentations are in the SBC18 platform with a high percentage use of our H3 and H4 variants. This year was especially exciting as this was the first ever combined booth with Jazz Semiconductor Trusted Foundry (JSTF). Interest in JSTF continues to greatly increase and GOMACTech provides the ideal environment to showcase TowerJazz and JSTF A&D services.
TowerJazz is committed to Good Deeds Day—2015
Good Deeds Day is an annual tradition to promote the spirit of volunteering and helping others around the world.
On Tuesday, March 24, 2015 Good Deeds Day was held in Israel, during which more than 800,000 people set out to do something good for the environment and society by choosing to participate in some of the nearly 10,000 different volunteering projects.
This year TowerJazz chose to join the Good Deeds Day. Approximately 60 volunteers from the company went out for three hours to places in the community in Migdal Haemek and Nazareth to take part in various volunteer projects.
The projects included:
- Renovating the Youth Club in Migdal Haemek where TowerJazz employees are volunteering on a weekly basis.
- Volunteering at a youth center in Timurim, Migdal Haemek. The center is for children and youth from the neighborhood. Their ages range from 7–18. The center engages in recreational sports, tutoring, and structured activities for boys and girls. Activities included renovation and painting of the center.
- Volunteering at a Kindergarten in Migdal Haemek which includes children with special needs. The kindergarten has 25 students, ages 4–6. Activities included construction and renovation, painting and planting in the garden.
- Opening a “Futures Youth Club” in Nazareth for at-risk youth, providing after school hours care. Activities included renovation and painting.
TowerJazz volunteers helping renovate and paint a youth center in Timurim, Migdal Haemek
M2V—Mountain-to-Valley Relay Race
This is the second year TowerJazz employees in Migdal Ha’emek (Israel) have joined the “Mountain to Valley Relay” race from the upper Galilee Mountains to the Yzra’el Valley, where the TowerJazz facility is located.
The race combines personal athletic experience and group collaboration with teams running in open spaces along 215 Kilometers (in about 24 hours).
The Mountain-to-Valley Relay race is one of the most popular sports events in Israel, with a rising number of participants each year. Between 7,000 and 8,000 runners in 950 different teams run day and night in various field conditions.
The race is divided into 24 sections of approximately 5-14km each, and participating are groups of four, six or eight runners. Every participant in turn runs a section. The race starts at Tel Hai in the upper Galilee through spectacular landscapes, including the Ahula Valley, the Sea of Galilee, Beit Netofa, the Menashe forest and ends at Yzra’el Valley.
Two teams represented TowerJazz and included both men and women from different levels in the company. Two groups of eight people each started the race together at 8:00am and finished the race together the next morning at 9:00am. It was a great experience for the teams despite some injuries and tiredness.
Overall, the event brought a lot of joy and happiness to the TowerJazz teams, demonstrating our employees’ ambition and high motivation
GETTING TO KNOW US
Sr. Director, Process Engineering R&D MH
Myriam joined the company in 2001 in the TF R&D Process Engineering Group.
In each issue, we introduce one of our employees who works with our valued customers in some capacity. We delve into their professional roles and responsibilities as well as some details on their home life, hobbies and travels.
At TowerJazz, we encourage work-life balance for our employees. We are a large, multi-cultural family and each employee is unique and brings different characteristics and experience. It is our goal to share a bit of our company and employee culture with you. In this issue, we feature Myriam Buchbinder.
Q. Please tell us about your position, focus areas, etc.
A. I’m heading up the Process Engineering R&D Group at the Migdal Ha’Emek site. The group is responsible for supporting all the Business Units’ projects that require new process developments. As Director of this group, my focus is on having the right people assigned to projects to ensure their success, and overseeing the technical progress of the projects.
Q. What do you enjoy about your position and what challenges you?
A. I love the variety of the projects. We have developed processes for such a wide range of technologies – from the ‘simplest’ six-layer discrete device in a TOPS transfer project, to the 40+ layers of CIS products.
Each project comes with its unique challenges. I believe we have a great team of engineers and managers that are positive, customer-oriented, and fun to work with.
Q: What is your focus this year from a business standpoint?
A: This year in particular, we are focusing on the aggressive ramp of some key technologies that were developed in the last year or so; working closely with the FAB Engineering group at this critical phase of new technology ramp. The technologies ramping are mainly our IS11 image sensor with pushed design rules in the pixel array, and several TOPS customer projects. We are also working on the next generation RF-SOI, low Rdson power management technologies.
Q. What are some of your hobbies?
A: I’d like to say I’ve got some high-brow pastimes but the truth is that, on my weekends, I enjoy catching up on some sleep, going out with my family for a walk and coffee at the beach or in our neighborhood, and reading trashy crime novels interspersed with the occasional decent piece of literature. Recently, I’ve also started dabbling in bookbinding as a hobby—I thought it fitting.
Q: What is your favorite travel destination?
A: Just about anywhere, but having family and friends mainly in North America that’s where we usually head out – Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and New York.
CEO interview: What’s next after Tower’s turn-around?
May 2015 marks the tenth anniversary of Russell Ellwanger taking over as CEO of specialty foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Migdal Haemek, Israel), which now trades as TowerJazz. And so EE Times Europe asked Ellwanger about Tower’s last ten years and about the futu
When Did Analog Steal Digital’s Mojo?
Name two semiconductor companies whose names begin with the letter T that used to mainly make digital ICs but now think analog electronics is more exciting and remunerative!…
They are Texas Instruments and Tower Semiconductor, which trades as TowerJazz. Other analog-focused companies beginning with T are available, but these two came to my mind as they have been making the news recently
TowerJazz and UCSD demo first 5G 256-element wafer-scale phased array transmitter
TowerJazz and UCSD have collaborated to demonstrate the first 256-element (16 x 16) wafer-scale phased array transmitter with integrated high-efficiency antennas operating at 56 to 65 GHz frequency range. First time success was achieved for the wafer-scale RFIC using TowerJazz’s own proprietary models, kit and the mmWave capabilities of its 0.18-micron SiGe BiCMOS process, SBC18H3.
“This is yet another leap forward in the area of phased arrays that we are proud to announce. We have a track record of successful collaboration with TowerJazz and the ability to bring this innovative design from UCSD to market depends strongly on TowerJazz’s SiGe BiCMOS foundry process which enables lower-cost phased arrays through integration of multiple circuit functions and high efficiency antennas on the same silicon chip,” said Dr. Gabriel M. Rebeiz, distinguished prof. of EE, UCSD.
Scientific CMOS image sensor from Gpixel and TowerJazz announced
Gpixel has announced the development of a backside-illuminated scientific CMOS image sensor that utilizes TowerJazz’s TS18IS CMOS image sensor process. The GSENSE400-BSI sensor is a 4 MPixel CMOS image sensor with an 11 µm pixel size that can achieve frame rates up to 48 fps. The sensor features an anti-reflective coating for either UV sensitivity or visible light sensitivity, and a low dark current of below 0.03 e-/p/s at -50oC. Furthermore, the sensor features sensitivity from 270nm–300nm for its UV-optimized version, and from 300nm–400nm for its VIS-optimized version, in addition to a 96 dB dynamic range. The GSENSE400-BSI is suitable for use in such applications as scientific imaging, biometrics, spectrometry, factory automation, astronomy, and surveillance applications.
TowerJazz and Semtech Corporation Announce Significant Production Ramp of Proprietary Technology
TowerJazz and Semtech Corporation announced the successful production ramp of various products in TowerJazz’s fab. TowerJazz and Semtech share a strong history of partnership and process transfer activities across multiple business units.
“Our proprietary processes presented a significant integration challenge to our foundry partners. TowerJazz was able to provide the combination of technical capability and a dedicated, experienced engineering staff which allowed the rapid qualification and ramp in several of our new product families,” said Asaf Silberstein, Senior Vice President, WW Operations for Semtech Corporation.