Analogue/mixed-signal and MEMS manufacturer, X-FAB Silicon Foundries, has announced that it is the first semiconductor foundry whose manufacturing sites are certified for automotive manufacturing according to the new IATF-16949:2016 International Automotive Quality Management System (QMS). The certification is acknowledged as the industry’s highest standard of system and process quality for automotive suppliers.
This achievement further strengthens X-FAB’s long-established reputation for quality and reliability in the automotive industry, as well as its standing among semiconductor manufacturers. Since 1992, the company has consistently met or exceeded the exacting demands for automotive semiconductors, with more than 17 billion X-FAB automotive devices shipped to date. Almost 50% of the company’s business is related to the automotive market and on average there are now 10 ICs produced by X-FAB in every newly manufactured vehicle worldwide.
Up until now X-FAB’s manufacturing sites were qualified according to ISO TS 16949 which is now superseded by the IATF-16949 standard and is implemented as a supplement to, and in conjunction with ISO 9001. Among the enhancements are additional requirements for business procedures, cleanliness, ethics, training, supplier and customer communications, plus detailed record keeping – all of which have always been deeply engrained within X-FAB’s corporate culture.
Certification for IATF 16949 requires automotive suppliers throughout the entire supply chain to perform and record all processes and activities in a common standardised format, as well as documenting all process changes and events in a timely manner. For semiconductor manufacturers this improves production throughput and product quality, resulting in greater reliability and yield enhancement.
The semiconductor content in today’s cars continues to grow, driven by improvements in passenger safety as well as advancements in driver automation, collision avoidance, vehicle navigation and passenger infotainment. While semiconductor content in the average automobile is increasing rapidly, almost doubling over the course of the past decade, quality requirements have evolved from 0ppm to zero incidents throughout the entire supply chain.
According to Frank Lorenz (pictured), Vice President Quality at X-FAB: "Process orientation, interdisciplinary work and continuous improvement combined with intensive customer collaboration are the key elements in achieving our goal of zero incidents throughout the automotive supply chain. The IATF-16949 quality certification is an important milestone in our 25 years of foundry experience, demonstrating our commitment to quality and reliability. Our entire organisation is enthusiastically behind this effort, and with this new IATF certificate we can move forward with further improving our offering in order to provide greater value for our customers.”
Five of X-FAB’s six manufacturing sites on three continents are now IATF-16949 certified: Erfurt, Dresden and Itzehoe in Germany; Kuching in Malaysia and Lubbock TX, USA. X-FAB’s most recent manufacturing site in Corbeil Essonnes, France, will be qualified in the second quarter of 2018 and will in future significantly contribute to X-FAB’s automotive business. Currently, X-FAB’s high-volume 180nm automotive processes are being installed at X-FAB France and once in place, X-FAB will be able to offer these processes as dual-source, an important requirement from the automotive market.
Automotive ICs drive quality improvement in overall semiconductor manufacturing, so this certification benefits not just X FAB’s automotive foundry operations, but also its established manufacturing for industrial, consumer and medical devices. The team at X-FAB is dedicated to being a reliable partner throughout the entire manufacturing cycle, and together with a policy of close collaboration with customers creates a shared interest in maintaining quality and reliability within all levels of the relationship.