Power Electronics


Fairchild Semiconductor to Acquire Intersil Discrete Power Business Fairchild Semiconductor International signed an agreement to acquire Intersil Corporation's discrete power business for about $338 million in cash. This acquisition makes Fairchild the second-largest power MOSFET supplier in the world - in a $3 billion market that grew 40% in 2000. The combination of Fairchild's existing power MOSFET business and Intersil's discrete power products is estimated to give Fairchild an overall share of approximately 20%.

This acquisition will bolster Fairchild's intellectual property portfolio. It will add advanced design, engineering, and manufacturing operations based in Mountaintop, Pa. An experienced manufacturing workforce and the industry's only 8-in. fab dedicated to discrete power products will also be included. Fairchild's power product line will broaden with high-speed rectifiers, planar and trench MOSFETs and next generation IGBTs.

Editor's Note: Keeping track of these companies has been difficult. Originally, General Electric (G.E.) bought IC manufacturer, Intersil, located in Silicon Valley (this company was abandoned several years later. About that time, G.E. bought RCA's power semiconductor operation. Then, G.E. sold their power semiconductor business to the Harris Corporation. A couple of years ago, Harris split off its power semiconductor business and called it Intersil Corporation, and Intersil bought Samsung's power semiconductor group. Meanwhile, National Semiconductor purchased Fairchild Semiconductor, which was one of the first semiconductor companies in Silicon Valley. In 1997, National split off Fairchild as a separate company. Somewhere along the line, Fairchild also bought Raytheon Semiconductor. If this isn't accurate please let us know the changes.

Electronic Component Growth Flattens to End Record Year Electronic component orders continued to level off in the fourth quarter of 2000, as end markets brought supply and demand down-to-earth, according to the monthly index compiled by the Electronic Components, Assemblies and Materials Association (ECA). While spot shortages existed in some areas, particularly for large-case-size tantalum capacitors, buyers and end-users are tapping into inventory that built up due to overly optimistic projections.

"Major end users, contract manufacturers and distributors are being conservative in their 2001 forecasts, balancing requirements against expected demand," says Bob Willis, ECA president. "Unit sales in the first half of this year will continue to grow, but not at the astronomical levels of last year."

Growth in the fourth quarter of 2000 equaled that of the same time period in 1999. That's an encouraging sign, according to Willis, since fourth quarter 1999 touched off the record growth recorded in 2000. Although data for December 2000 is incomplete, ECA estimates there will be a modest increase in order growth compared to 1999.

Overall, ECA expects growth rates for 2000 to be about 50% above 1999, with the largest growth at or near 100% occurring in the first quarter. While growth rates declined sharply in the second half of 2000, it was only in comparison to the dramatic growth in the same period of 1999. Actual orders for 2000 remained high according to ECA.

Electronics Industry Pioneer William J. McGinley Passes Away William Joseph McGinley, 77, of Barrington Hills, Ill. and Key Largo, Fla., passed away on Monday, January 22, 2001. He was born July 14, 1923, in Hinsdale, Ill.

Mr. McGinley was founder of Methode Electronics, Inc., in 1946 with $1000 in capital. He continued to serve as its Chairman and CEO until his death.

Mr. McGinley was the founding president of the Institute of Printed Circuits and was active in the Electrical Manufacturers Club, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Electronics Industry Association, and American Electronics Association. Three days before he passed away, he was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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