Key Foundry Expands to Implement Mass Production of Automotive Semiconductors

April 23, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

This year, Key Foundry’s newly developed Gen3 0.18-micron BCD process and its Gen2 0.13 micron embedded flash process will be used for mass production of automotive and consumer products.

MagnaChip Semiconductor’s Foundry Services Group was launched as an independent company Key Foundry Co., Ltd. from September 2020. 


Since this February, the pure-play foundry has been making progress concerning its production process. In February, the company announced that it had started mass production with a third-generation (Gen3) 0.18-micron Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS (BCD) process that is enhanced for mobile and automotive power semiconductors. Earlier this month, Key Foundry announced the use of its second-generation (Gen2) 0.13 micron embedded flash process in completing the development of its first automotive semiconductor. The company intends to begin full-scale mass production this year.


BCD Technology

BCD is a family of silicon processes that combine three different process technologies within one chip. These three technologies include bipolar transistors for precise analog functions, CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) for digital design, and DMOS (double diffused metal-oxide semiconductor) for power and high-voltage driving. BCD technology allows the creation of integrated circuit (IC) designs of up to 100V operating voltage.


Key Foundry’s BCD Process

Key Foundry’s latest Gen3 0.18 micron BCD process provides customers with a lower ON-resistance and the smaller parasitic capacitance (8~40V power NMOS/PMOS) reduces conduction and switching loss. The technology offers customers a 20% improvement in performance compared with previous iterations. The technology is ideally suited to products that require efficient use of power. The Gen3 BCD process has been applied for product development with several Asian and American power semiconductor design houses, and interest has grown for its use for DC-DC, battery chargers, audio amplifiers, motor drivers, and more. Key Foundry’s BCD process can also be used for automotive electronic parts and automotive power semiconductors. Option devices will also be made available alongside the process later this year.

In a news release, Key Foundry CEO, Tae Jong Lee, said: “As the power semiconductor market is making rapid growth recently, there are escalating demands for highly reliable and price-competitive foundry technologies.” Lee added: “Based on our accumulated technological capability, Key Foundry will continue to improve our process technologies and provide competitive BCD processes that satisfy the market demand and the needs of power semiconductor designing companies.”


Key Foundry’s Flash Process

Just like Key Foundry’s new BCD process, its new Gen2 0.13 micron embedded flash process meets the reliability criteria of the AEC-Q100 Grade-1, and can be used for automotive parts. The AEC-Q100 is a failure mechanism based stress test qualification for packaged ICs. Under Grade-1, the IC is expected to function well for 10+ years at a high temperature (125℃). All the while, the IC should be able to maintain the integrity of the data saved in the flash. In addition to utilizing its patented Side-wall Selective Transistor Cell (SSTC) structure in the design of its new flash technology, Key Foundry has incorporated ECC (Error Correcting Code memory) in the embedded flash IP. This innovation increases flash memory reliability of the technology and allows it to be applied to automotive applications.

The Gen2 flash process is first being applied to a microcontroller unit (MCU) for a toll transponder and is hoped to be expanded to other applications such as Touch ICs, wireless charge ICs and other automotive products. Mass production of the MCU product is expected to commence this year. Coupled with Key Foundry’s BCD process, other applications could include USB Type-C PDs, motor drive ICs, and wireless charging ICs. There is also potential for the Gen2 technology to be applied to low-power IoT (internet of things) products with an ultra-low leakage process option.