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DENSO CORPORATION (DENSO), a leading mobility supplier, and United Semiconductor Japan Co., Ltd. (USJC), a subsidiary of global semiconductor foundry United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), announced a joint collaboration to produce insulated gate bipolar transistors* (IGBT), which have entered mass production at the 300mm fab of USJC. A first shipment ceremony was held today to mark this important milestone. It comes just one year after the companies announced a strategic partnership for this critical power semiconductor used in electric vehicles.
As adoption of electric vehicles accelerates, automakers are seeking to boost powertrain efficiency while also increasing cost-effectiveness of electrified vehicles. The jointly invested line at USJC supports the production of a new generation of IGBT developed by DENSO, which offers 20% reduction in power losses compared with earlier generation devices. Production is expected to reach 10,000 wafers per month by 2025.
The ceremony was held today at USJC's fab in Mie Prefecture, Japan. Attendees included by DENSO President Koji Arima, UMC Co-President Jason Wang, USJC President Michiari Kawano, Director-General of the Commerce and Information Policy Bureau at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Satoshi Nohara, Governor of Mie Prefecture Katsuyuki Ichimi, and Mayor of Kuwana City Narutaka Ito.
"Today, we are thrilled to welcome a memorable shipping ceremony that symbolizes the partnership between DENSO, UMC and USJC. We are from different cultures such as semiconductor industry and automobile industry. However we have worked steadily with mutual respect which is a source of our strong competitiveness. DENSO, together with our trusted partners, will continue to further accelerate electrification through the production of competitive semiconductors in order to preserve the global environment and create a society full of smiles," said Koji Arima, President of DENSO.
"USJC is proud to be the first semiconductor foundry in Japan to manufacture IGBT on 300mm wafers, offering customers greater production efficiency than the standard fabrication on 200mm wafers. Thanks to our dedicated teams and support from DENSO, we were able to complete trial production and reliability testing without delay and honor the mass production date as agreed with the customer," said Michiari Kawano, President of USJC.
"It is an honor to be a strategic partner of DENSO, a leading automotive solution provider to global automakers. This collaboration fully demonstrates UMC's manufacturing capability and our collaborative approach to ensure the success of our foundry customers," said Jason Wang, Co-President of UMC. "The electrification and automation of cars will continue to drive up semiconductor content, particularly for chips manufactured using specialty foundry processes on 28nm and above nodes. As a specialty technology leader, UMC is well positioned to play a bigger role in the automotive value chain and enabling our partners to capture opportunities and win market share in this rapidly evolving industry."
*Insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) is a core device that acts as a switch in inverters to convert DC current from batteries to AC current to drive and control electric vehicle motors. Battery and plug-in electric cars require significantly more IGBT units than conventional ICE cars.