STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a leader in supplying semiconductors to the automotive market, announced the signing of an agreement with Bosch in which the world’s leading automotive electronic systems company will license ST’s state-of-the-art BCD8 process technology, enabling Bosch to design and manufacture highly integrated automotive products using this leading-edge technology in its own wafer fabrication plant. The move continues a close strategic partnership between the two companies extending over the last 20 years. For the first time, ST is also to share with Bosch its HVCMOS8 high-voltage CMOS process.
BCD8 (Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) is the most recent implementation of ST’s proprietary smart-power technology, which allows analog, digital and power circuits to be integrated on a single chip. This latest version of the unique process, introduced in 2006, brings a dramatic improvement in the semiconductor manufacturing process. The BCD8 process uses 0.18-micron technology, from the 0.35-micron process of BCD6, and provides the possibility of producing a complete system – including the MCU – on a single piece of silicon for the first time. This exceptional level of integration will deliver important benefits to Bosch’s automotive systems in lower costs, increased reliability and more compact packaging.
In addition to using the process technology, Bosch will also license ST’s BCD8 design rules, to enable Bosch’s in-house design teams to create products autonomously, for production in their wafer fab.
Gate density in the logic portions of a BCD8-manufactured chip shows a four times improvement over the previous (BCD6) technology, and is thought to be higher than in any other smart-power process. The power capability remains the same as in BCD6 despite the smaller lithography, and the established benefits of the technology – including the excellent high-voltage capability, protection against hostile environmental events, wide temperature range and automotive-grade reliability – are maintained.
Bosch is expected to make use of it across the whole range of engine management, transmission control, occupant protection, chassis system and other applications. The HVCMOS8 high-voltage CMOS technology that ST is also licensing to Bosch, is typically used in applications such as sensor interfaces and analog processing.
“This extension of our 20-year partnership with Bosch is a demonstration of confidence in our leading-edge technologies, and we look forward to continuing to work with them on the world’s most advanced automotive systems,” said Ugo Carena, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of ST’s Automotive Product Group. “As the worldwide automotive leader, Bosch has an outstanding reputation for quality in the industry.”
According to iSuppli*, ST is the largest supplier of automotive application specific chips (ASICs/ASSPs), which include devices based on its BCD technology, and the third largest microchip supplier overall to the automotive industry. ST is also the leading provider of the power-management chips that handle the complex electrical power demands of today’s increasingly sophisticated vehicles, and it counts all of the top-ten automotive OEMs in the world among its major customers.
The automotive market challenges the semiconductor industry through the severity of its price/performance demands. High volumes and intense competition make it extremely price-conscious, while its operating environment is especially hostile: ambient temperatures from -40 to +150 degrees C, high energy transients, accidental battery reversals, and high levels of vibration.
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today’s convergence markets. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2006, the Company’s net revenues were $9.85 billion and net earnings were $782 million.
* iSuppli – 2006 Semiconductor Market Share (published Q1 2007)