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30th September 2016

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X-Fab to buy assets of Altis


With both companies serving complementary markets and applications, this acquisition roughly doubles the company’s 8-inch capacity to meet the growing demand for its manufacturing technologies, as well as significantly increasing its European footprint.

Based on the characteristics of X-FAB’s technologies and end markets, the acquisition also ensures the long-term existence and development of the site in Corbeil-Essonnes and, as part of a larger group, will also enhance its competitiveness.

It is part of X-FAB’s strategy to strongly invest in RD activities for the development of proprietary technologies, which will also apply to the new site.

“We are very glad about the decision taken by the court and appreciate the trust that has been placed upon us,” says Rudi De Winter, CEO of X-FAB Group, “I am convinced that this acquisition will be of benefit for all parties involved with Altis Semiconductor being a perfect fit for X-FAB on our way to becoming the foundry of choice for the analogue world. It enables us to quickly expand our capacities to meet rising customer demand. With our proven track record in integrating and developing new sites, we will make every effort to ensure a smooth transition of the former Altis operation into the X-FAB Group providing a sustainable future for the site.”

The assets will be transferred into the newly founded X-FAB France SAS. The completion of the acquisition is subject to local laws and regulations and customary closing conditions. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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Maxim enables Industry 4.0


The platform aims to deliver the smallest form factor and highest power efficiency for next-generation PLC designs.

Lost productivity is a common concern for Industry 4.0 designers challenged with keeping a manufacturing line running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Without intelligent data available at their fingertips, factory operators do not have the insight to make informed, real-time decisions which can significantly improve uptime, revenue, and gross margins.

In addition to capturing real-time data, PLCs require fan-less operation due to harsh industrial environments. As a result, efficient power solutions are required to minimize heat dissipation.

Pocket IO PLC is aimed at enabling Industry 4.0 applications. To maximize productivity, it provides real-time intelligence to quickly and effectively make decisions, adaptive manufacturing to avoid potential downtime, and distributed control to provide redundancy.

The move to re-shoring – the return of off-shored plants to the advanced economies is being enabled by Industry 4.0, says Maxim’s industrial IC vp Sui Shieh.

Industry 4.0 is all about intelligent sensors and distributed control, says Shieh.

“It helps the trend for factories moving back to Western countries to be closer to customers, to shrink the supply chain and to improve quality,” says Shieh

Pocket IO provides the following advantages to increase productivity:

Real-time intelligence: Fast data processing provides the necessary data to make intelligent decisions quickly and effectively to optimize yield.

Adaptive manufacturing: Manufacturing flexibility allows for real-time changes and adjustments to avoid potential downtime.

Distributed control: Ultra-small footprint of less than 10 cubic inches and smart energy consumption brings PLC down to the manufacturing line, re-distributing intelligent control and providing redundancy.

When compared to the Micro PLC Platform from two years ago, the Pocket IO decreases form factor by an additional 2.5x and reduces power consumption by another 30%. Utilising patent-pending, fast, and safe demagnetization clamps integrated within the MAX14913 octal high-side switch and driver, it achieves 15x space savings by eliminating 16 diodes from its previous solution.

The MAX17681 iso-buck DC-DC converter provides greater than 90% power efficiency when compared to its predecessor—a reduction of power dissipation of over 30%.

The MAX31913 octal, digital input translator/serializer can be powered off of any available 5V supply while still accepting input signals up to 36V, eliminating all protection components needed on the 24V supply pin and thus reducing total footprint by 50%.

The MAXREFDES150 Pocket IO PLC reference design is $499, which includes the attach board, IO-link protocol stack, cables, and power supply. The schematics, layout files, and firmware are free and available for immediate use.

The Pocket IO consists of 30 IOs, including analog input, analog output, digital input, digital output, IO-link, and motion control featuring robust functionality and diagnostic capabilities.

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