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Infineon acquires 9.4 per cent stake in PCB manufacturer Schweizer Electronic

semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies is to acquire a 9.4 per cent stake in printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer Schweizer Electronic. 

The relevant contracts have been concluded, but both companies have agreed strict confidentiality on the terms of the deal.

By investing into Schweizer Infineon is looking to jointly develop technologies for the integration of power semiconductors into PCBs and to tap the chip embedding market for high-power automotive and industrial applications. Schweizer’s chip embedding technology will round out Infineon’s proprietary chip embedding packaging technology BLADE, used for example for direct current supply (DC/DC conversion) that is necessary for processors in computer and telecommunications systems. 

While PCBs have chips connected to their front and backside today, chip embedding will permit in the future that the semiconductors can be “embedded” in the inside of the PCB. The PCB will become smaller. This will benefit systems in vehicles, for which there is only little space available such as the electric power steering system, active suspension or electrical pumps. Moreover, the cooling of the chips will be improved. The heat created by the chips is dissipated directly via the PCB. This is particularly beneficial in applications that require high power and whose power semiconductors needed elaborate cooling until now. These are for example the compressors in a vehicle air-conditioning system, where electrical power may reach up to 2 kilowatts (kW). In addition, the automotive industry expects the 48-volt network to gain importance besides the already present 12-volt on-board network. Since higher electrical power can be used this way, it will be easier to expand hybrid functionality (“eTurbo” with 5kW up to 20kW) to vehicles of lower and medium price segments as well. This is where chip embedding can help. 

Dr Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon Technologies AG, says: “We improve the performance and energy efficiency of vehicles and industrial applications with system competence and the use of highly innovative technologies. Our shareholding in Schweizer Electronic AG supports us on the road from product thinking to system understanding. Chip embedding yields a great added value for our customers, as their systems become more compact and even more efficient at the same time.” 

Dr Marc Schweizer, CEO of Schweizer Electronic AG, explains: “System boundaries between PCBs and semiconductors are going to change, and this requires new business models. We are expecting a high growth potential here in a few years. Infineon is the technology leader for power semiconductors and Schweizer is a leading manufacturer of high-performance printed circuit boards in the automotive and industrial segments. Owing to their excellent market positions and good customer relations, our two companies are a very good fit. We have already proven this to be the case by our jointly developed demonstrators for tailor-made customer solutions.” 

And in view of the long company tradition, Dr Schweizer adds: “In the course of its 165-year company history, Schweizer has proven time and again that it generates sustainable business development through its flexibility and capacity to quickly adjust to market trends. The agreement with Infineon is one next step to contribute to shaping the future in the electronics industry.” 

Infineon is technologically leading in power semiconductors and Schweizer is leading in high-performance PCBs. As suppliers of the automotive industry, each of the companies is the number two in the global ranking of their product markets. 

For several years, Infineon and Schweizer have collaborated in automotive electronics. In October 2013, for example, they presented a jointly developed battery switch, which enables the car battery to be safely disconnected in case of an accident or other critical situations. 

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