Intel and Japanese Partners Consider Renting Sharp’s LCD Factory for Backend Technology Development

Intel and 14 Japanese companies form SATAS, exploring the use of Sharp’s LCD factory for backend technology standardization and automation, targeting 2028 for commercialization.

Intel, along with 14 Japanese companies forming the “Semiconductor Backend Automation and Standardization Technology Association” (SATAS), is considering renting Sharp’s small LCD factory in Mie Prefecture for technology development, according to Nikkei News.

Established in May, SATAS aims to reduce human labor in backend processes and promote standardization and automation, ultimately creating a fully automated backend production line by 2028.

To develop relevant technology, SATAS needs to build a pilot line to verify the standardized automation equipment’s operation. As Japan’s LCD industry shrinks, more companies seek new uses for idle LCD factories.

For instance, Mitsubishi Electric’s new power semiconductor factory in Kumamoto Prefecture was converted from an LCD panel factory, and Rapidus’s advanced packaging plant also uses idle space from Seiko Epson’s LCD factory.

Both semiconductor wafer fabs and LCD factories have similar cleanliness requirements, allowing for the reuse of clean rooms. They also require significant water and power resources, which can be utilized when converting LCD factories to wafer fabs.

Sharp, facing two consecutive fiscal years of losses, is reducing its display business scale and has allocated 60% of the SDP Sakai City LCD factory area to SoftBank for a data center. Additionally, Sharp plans to lower the capacity of its two small LCD factories in Mie Prefecture, making the available production lines suitable for SATAS’s needs.

This potential collaboration would allow SATAS to reduce pilot line construction costs, while Sharp could gain extra revenue to help return to profitability.

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Deepanker Verma is a well-known technology blogger and gadget reviewer based in India. He has been writing about Tech for over a decade.


Intel and Japanese Partners Consider Renting Sharp’s LCD Factory for Backend Technology Development

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