We talk memory, IoT and future fab plans with Winbond
Editor’s note: this Q&A with Winbond was conducted by EE Times Asia over email, Winbond’s replies are unedited.
Q: Introduce Winbond to our readers, how is business?
Winbond is a strong semiconductor company with advanced design skills and production technologies utilizing the innovation and intelligence of its employees giving us a competitive edge in the industry. The company has strong beliefs in business integrity and customer satisfaction while embracing changes in the industry and building strong partnerships.
Winbond’s focus products are Code Storage Flash and mid-range density DRAMs where we hold a leadership position. Business is very strong and we shipped 7Mu of serial flash per day in 2017 and this number is growing in 2018 and beyond. Our targeted growth areas include Europe and USA to grow new designs with existing and new customers. Winbond is a strong company and has developed long term relationships with several major customers in the industry around the world and has nurtured these customers for years.
Development of new products are based on working relationships with engineers at these companies and the feedback they give us for new features and enhancements. Our experienced engineering and marketing teams also come up with innovative ideas on which these new feature sets and packaging techniques are based. We offer the best and smallest solutions to the ever shrinking gadgets that the industry requires today.
Q: Are you seeing demand in areas you hadn’t anticipated?
Yes. There are several customers with whom we have been doing business in applications like consumer, communications and computers ever since the company started. Several of these customers are now exploring new application areas and we are working together with them to develop solutions and business, and grow in these new areas including automotive, industrial, wearable and IoT segments. In addition to this, we are also developing new customers who are dedicated to these newer application segments and we are developing long term relationships with them. Several automotive solutions take years to get designed in and then develop into business.
We have dedicated teams of engineers and business people in the company who spend years of hard work to meet the requirements of these high demand automotive and industrial customers. The business demand for memories in these areas are exploding and we have the technology and manufacturing capacity to meet their requirements. We are also planning and putting in place new investments in capacity and technology to meet the demands of these new developing areas planning to meet their increasing demands over the next few years.
Q: You’ve recently announced new high-performance and high-quality Serial NAND aimed at the automotive industry, what can you offer this industry?
Firstly, the serial NAND products are like an extension in density to the serial NOR products based on the same SPI interface. The serial NOR flash memories are available from 512Kb through 512Mb densities and are cost effective across these range of densities along with being very robust and reliable. However, the serial SLC NAND products are more cost effective from 512Mb through 4Gb densities as well as reliable, offering 100K cycles of endurance like the serial NOR flash devices.
These High Performance and High Quality Serial NAND devices are the ideal solution to meet the increasing demands of higher density code storage needs in the industry – particularly in the industrial and automotive segments. These serial NAND devices are qualified for automotive applications and hence are available in automotive grade.
All NOR and NAND flash memories from Winbond are available in Industrial grade as standard products. As we all know, automotive applications have more stringent requirements compared to industrial grade products. Both the serial NOR and Serial NAND devices are now available in automotive grade from Winbond. Many of our automotive customers are qualifying our high performance and high quality serial NAND devices on Autonomous Driving, ADAS, Clusters and Gateway automotive applications.
Q: IoT is finally booming – how are you positioning yourself on this market?
We are really positioning ourselves very well to address the IoT market. We have an existing complete family of serial NOR flash products at 1.8V and 3V ranging from 512Kb through 512Mb densities. We are the first company in the flash memory industry to offer a brand new family of the lowest voltage products at 1.2V. Moreover, we offer these products in different small packages which are ideal for space constrained applications like wearables and other sub sections of IoT. We also offer NAND flash products from 512Mb through 8Gb densities in both ONFi NAND and serial NAND which are good to store code for industrial IoT applications.
The biggest advantage of using the new 1.2V family of products is the savings in power consumption. A user saves 30% more power by using the 1.2V products compared to 1.8V products.
For lower power consumption, we also offer an extended 1.5V family of products. In today’s battery based designs, one uses two 1.5V batteries in series to support 3V flash products. However, with our extended 1.5V family of flash, the user needs only one 1.5V battery hence saving the cost of a battery on the same design.
With the savings in power using these low voltage products, we are doing our due diligence for our Corporate Social Responsibility. By helping our customers use these low voltage, low power consuming products, we are helping the environment and being a part of the green world.
Q: You’re breaking ground on a new fab later this year, in Kaohsiung. What can your customers expect?
We are a customer focused company. Looking at the demand in the market for memories going forward, it is obvious that we will need more and more low and mid density memories for multiple applications. We are breaking ground for a new fab to ensure that we will have enough memories to support our customer’s growing needs in the years to come. So far, we have been able to meet our customer demands to satisfy their memory needs using our existing wafer fab, and we will continue to support our growing list of customers with the larger capacity of products that our new fab will support.
We are well known as a company that supports our customers with product longevity which is very important for automotive and industrial customers. We offer reliable long term support with high quality, good service and on-time delivery of product. Many of our customers tell us that they are happy to be working with a reliable and long term supplier like Winbond.