March 10-11, 2010 - Santa Clara, CA
Unlocking the Value of Fab Ownership
The benefits of fab ownership will increasingly outweigh the disadvantages as component manufacturers meet the challenges of lower cost and higher transmission speeds by pushing design and test complexity back to the chip level, argues Oclaro's Andy Carter.
Fab or Fabless? The question has been asked many times over the last ten years by everyone seeking to make compound semiconductor optoelectronic devices. There is no doubt that the era has passed when the first item on a start-up shopping list was a fabrication facility...but what about companies with well established fabs, such as Oclaro? Are their fabs cash and overhead drains, or are they the key to deliver growth and profitability now that the market is warming up and many component requirements are still differentiated on performance and footprint? The view of the management at Oclaro is that lab ownership offers compelling advantages, and once a certain scale is reached, it is highly differentiating and cost effective. In addition, it acts as a significant barrier to entry for other players..(full article).
So, what is the right answer to the question of "Fab or Fabless?" OIDA and IPCA's upcoming forum "Fabrication Challenges in Optoelectronics" will explore challenges, opportunities, and various approaches in manufacturing.
This forum will expand on the topics discussed at OIDA's 2005 forum: Challenge of InP Photonic Development and the Optical Foundry. We will review what has changed from that workshop and shift the focus of the discussion from one of the "supplier" to examining, in more detail, the challenges and needs from the perspective of the user community; small, cash-poor, innovative start-ups, custom design houses and IDMs (integrated device manufacturers) who may want to take advantage of access to external resources and capabilities.
It is critical to have a better understanding of this perspective in order to further develop the "fabless/foundry" model and to take the opportunity to explore and to understand the strengths of other options.
There are several pre-existing examples (outside of InP photonics) that may be used to benchmark the process and to provide some input to the discussion of evolving the fabless InP photonic device business model.
Perhaps the first and closest example is the evolution of "fabless" silicon photonics businesses and how it aligned with an already established silicon foundry industry. While there are unique challenges that only apply to silicon photonics, there are still many lessons to be learned that may be useful to the III/V photonics world.
A more mature example of a complex fabless/foundry relationship (and an arguably successful business model) that in some aspects mirrors the additional complexities and challenges presented by III/V photonics, is the RF/Analogue industry and its fabless/ foundry business model. Over a number of years, a robust foundry network has been developed to support a diverse design, process and application environment.
Focusing next on the subject of InP photonics, the forum will discuss existing foundries and fabless organizations working in III/V photonics. These organizations may include pure play, photonic IDMs or electronic IDMs selling excess capacity and also those fabless organizations that utilize those resources.
Invited speakers include representatives from:
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For more information, visit http://www.oida.org/events/fabrication10