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17 July 2007


RFMD expands Beijing assembly facility’s capabilities

RF Micro Devices Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA has announced a major expansion at its facility in Beijing, China, including increased assembly capacity and the addition of new capabilities. The expansion is expected to support RFMD’s Polaris 3 RF solution, which is scheduled to ramp production this quarter.

The increased capacity will approximately double assembly capabilities for RFMD’s transmit modules. Capacity of wire bond and test capabilities will be expanded in the current quarter, and full capacity will be available by November. In addition, new capabilities will include flip-chip packaging technology and RFMD’s internal RF shielding technology. The firm is also developing proprietary RF test platforms internally, as well as working in conjunction with third-party suppliers, for advanced transceiver module testing.

On completion, RFMD expects the 200,000-square-foot expansion and new enabling technologies to streamline its supply chain, speed time to market, and reduce manufacturing and inventory carrying costs.

“Our Beijing expansion reflects our commitment to support our customers with operational scale, technological innovation and an industry-leading cost structure,” says president and CEO Bob Bruggeworth. “We are introducing new enabling technologies that support our market leadership in cellular front ends and position RFMD to deliver more highly integrated RF solutions that reduce overall costs and increase our dollar content in current- and next-generation cellular phones,” he explains. “Our patent-pending self-shielding technology, in particular, reduces the volume required for RF solutions by 30-50% and provides customers with RF components that are not sensitive to board placement.”

Bruggeworth adds, “We expect our Beijing facility expansion will positively impact our ability to meet demand for our Polaris 3 RF solution, as it ramps in the coming months and grows sequentially throughout calendar year 2008.”

RFMD’s Polaris 3 features a highly integrated radio transceiver module that incorporates a single-chip CMOS EDGE transceiver, the full crystal oscillator and all necessary receive filter functionality, as well as RFMD’s front-end technology (including the power amplifier and transmit/receive switch) and integrated RF shielding. RFMD says that, when implemented, Polaris 3 eliminates the need for costly and cumbersome metal RF shields on the phone board while reducing component placements by about 80%, leading to savings in solution size and height, the firm claims.

RFMD says that the ramp of Polaris 3 represents an increase in the dollar content within its cellular RF solutions (with Polaris solutions commanding about three times the dollar content of cellular front ends, the firm estimates).

See related items:

RFMD moves up the rankings

RFMD breaks $1bn annually, but Motorola inventory correction depresses March and June quarters

RFMD prices $350m private placement; fiscal-year revenue to exceed $1bn, but forecasts slowdown next quarter

RFMD launches POLARIS 3 TOTAL RADIO transceiver for EDGE