Israeli specialty foundry TowerJazz , and Tacoma Technology Ltd and Tacoma (Nanjing) Semiconductor Technology Co., Ltd (collectively known as “Tacoma”) announced that Tower has received a first payment of $18 million, rendering phase one of the framework agreement with Tacoma binding. This agreement maps the establishment of a new 8-inch semiconductor fabrication facility in Nanjing, China. According to the terms of the framework agreement, TowerJazz will provide technological expertise together with operational and integration consultation, for which the Company shall receive additional payments based on milestones during the next few years, subject to a definitive agreement specifying all terms and conditions.
In addition, from the start of production at the facility, TowerJazz will be entitled to capacity allocation of up to 50% of the targeted 40,000 wafer per month fab capacity, which it may decide to use at its discretion. This capacity will provide TowerJazz with additional manufacturing capability and flexibility to address its growing global demand.
Tacoma will be responsible to source funds for all activities, milestones and deliverables of the entire project, including the construction, commissioning and ramp of this facility, with the project being fully supported by Nanjing Economic and Technology Development Zone through its Administration Committee, Credito Capital as well as through potential funding from other third party investors and entities.
A footprint in the booming Chinese market
“This agreement with Tacoma is in line with our business strategy to focus on growing markets such as China. The fabless business in China has grown rapidly in the past years. The new 8-inch fabrication facility in Nanjing will provide us with a strategic footprint in China and the opportunity to extend our offerings in advanced specialty process technologies by enabling customers in China to optimize their product performance and time to market,” said Dr. Itzhak Edrei, TowerJazz President.
Russell Ellwanger, TowerJazz Chief Executive Officer, commented, ”We are exploring multiple opportunities in China, and determined this agreement with Tacoma to be a good fit for TowerJazz, providing a roadmap for a meaningful long-term strategic partnership. China’s focus to develop its domestic semiconductor industry with full infrastructure presents additional opportunities for TowerJazz, as a global analog leader, to expand our served markets and geographic presence. This partnership will enable us to further fulfill our customers’ needs through additional available capacity as well as to be an active player in the growing Chinese market.”
Joseph Lee, Tacoma Chairman, stated: “Deeply engraved in the corporate culture of both Tacoma and TowerJazz is the core belief in working ‘SMART’ with ‘PASSION.’ Our people are committed to contributing to our business partners, the global semiconductor industry and society with the best endeavor and integrity. Tacoma will fully fund this project together with Credito Capital and other entities. This venture will become a dominant player in Asia and will raise the standard in the semiconductor industry to another level.”
Nes Ziona, Israel based HP Indigo announced a major deal with Shutterfly, the world’s leading online retailer and manufacturer of high-quality personalized products and services, adding a second phase of HP Indigo 12000 Digital Presses and naming HP as its preferred digital press provider for its core business. The announcement comes just a year after Shutterfly acquired a first phase of HP Indigo 12000 Digital Presses, making the combined order the largest deal by far for HP Indigo.
“We are seeing an incredible renaissance in digital printing. People click on what they like, but print what they love. The power of HP’s digital print technologies opens new markets, applications and possibilities for our top customers like Shutterfly,” said Enrique Lores, President, Imaging & Printing Business at HP. “We are seeing enormous momentum in our digital printing and graphics business as more companies discover the power of print to reinvent connections. Shutterfly leads the market in high-quality photo-based printed products and we are incredibly pleased to be part of that success.”
Shutterfly will use its new fleet of digital presses to produce a range of high-quality, personalized products and gifts including photo books, calendars, custom stationery, cards and keepsakes. The 29-inch format HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press enables production of these products through offset matching digital color with true photo quality, high productivity, and wide versatility on an unmatched range of media including synthetic, metalized and canvas applications. The new HP Indigo presses will be installed in time to help Shutterfly manage the annual boom of photo-based gift giving for the holiday season.
“At Shutterfly, our mission is to help people share life’s joy. Our customers trust us with their most treasured memories, and count on us to deliver the best quality in the industry,” said Dwayne Black, Senior Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, Shutterfly, Inc. “HP Indigo digital presses set the industry standard for quality, and after our successful HP press installs last year, we’re delighted to complete the second phase of upgrading our printing fleet. Through this initiative we’re further raising the quality we deliver to customers in time for the holidays this year, helping us deliver on our happiness guarantee.”
Medigus, a medical device company developing minimally invasive endosurgical tools and a leader in direct visualization technology, today announced that it received the first purchase order (PO) for the MUSE system in Italy from INNOVAMEDICA S.p.A, a privately-owned distributor of minimally invasive medical devices, in accordance with their existing distribution agreement.
“Medigus’ partnership with INNOVAMEDICA will expand the commercial availability of MUSE to patients in Italy who are seeking a minimally invasive treatment option for GERD,” said Chris Rowland, CEO of Medigus. “We are pleased to offer another key market advanced technologies that enhance patient care and outcomes.”
Under terms of the four-year agreement which took effect January 1st 2017, INNOVAMEDICA S.p.A. will be required to purchase at least EUR 1M of Medigus Ultrasonic Surgical Endostapler (MUSE™) equipment over the course of the agreement.
The MUSE system is a single-use flexible transoral stapler that merges the latest advancements in microvisual, ultrasonic and surgical stapling. The device comes equipped with an ultrasonic sight and range finder and a micro ScoutCam™ CMOS camera, which enables a single physician to perform an incisionless transoral fundoplication — the procedure intended to treat the anatomical cause of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Medigus is a medical device company specializing in developing minimally invasive endosurgical tools and highly innovative imaging solutions. Medigus are developer of the MUSE system, an FDA cleared and CE marked endoscopic device to perform Transoral Fundoplication (TF) for the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), one of the most common chronic conditions in the world. MUSE is gaining adoption in key markets around the world — it is available in world-leading healthcare institutions in the U.S., Europe and Israel. Medigus is also in the process of obtaining regulatory clearance in China. Medigus is traded on the Nasdaq Capital Market and the TASE (Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange).
Natanya, Israel based Inomize was selected by Nano-Retina to develop their ASICs, designed for revolutionary sight restoration product. Inomize was responsible for the analog design, verification, and back-end work. The Nano Retina solution is built from 2 ASIC components consist of mixed signal electronic circuitry, CMOS photo-sensors and IR recipients. The ASIC, implementing Nano-Retina 3DNi Technology was successfully delivered.
Nano Retina product incorporates various miniature components in one tiny implant, approximating the size of a child’s fingernail bed. The Implant aims to replace the natural functions of diseased retina with sophisticated artificial retina technology that mimics the natural physiological processes as much as possible.
Udi Shaked, Inomize CEO said that this was a challenging project, that perfectly suits the Inomize broad portfolio of ASIC capabilities like analog, system design and verification. Yaakov Milstain, Nano-Retina’s CEO: “ We selected Inomize after being convinced that they are the most suitable partner for such an interdisciplinary ASIC work. We are delighted with the outcome.”
Inomize is a leading provider of turnkey ASIC and SoC designs and specializes in managing complex ASIC projects. Inomize’ services includes system definition, architecture, algorithm, digital, verification, analog mixed signal, RF, synthesis backend, manufacturing and silicon validation. Inomize’ comprehensive expertise in semiconductors covers advanced CPU subsystems, a variety of modems (wireless and wire-line), video and imaging.
The Mer Group is planning the acquisition of a cyber company. The acquired company will be integrated into the solutions offered by the division. At the same time, the company transformed its subsidiary Athena into a security and intelligence solutions provider. The Group is now planning to recruit new employees in order to complete the development of a line of products. Techtime has learned of these developments in a meeting with the groups new CEO Omer Laviv in its Holon, Israel offices.
Omer Laviv was appointed CEO of the Mer Group 3 months ago. Laviv served as CEO of Athena, founded by former head of Shin-Bet shabtai Shavit, for 8 years. Athena was acquired by Mer in 2005, becoming part of the group’s homeland security solutions array. Laviv came to Athena straight from the Israeli airport authority, where he served as a manager in the field of security.
The Mer group has more than 1,000 employees in Israel and abroad, and it has three major divisions: Telecom, Security and Cleantech. The Groups revenues in the first 9 months of 2016 totaled more than 90$ million, 71% from telecommunication systems, 19% from security solutions and 3% from the cleantech sector.
In your last quarterly report, you reported a major restructuring. What happened?
Laviv: “during last year, the company has undergone a restructuring process, in order to focus on the company’s core activities. This included the closing or selling of activities which were outside our scope. At the same time. Alls the sales and implementation activities were transferred to our global subsidiaries, which were brought together, under a new division dubbed Mer global. This is in fact a new business division responsible for global sales of all the Groups products around the world. The Mer group has more than 30 offices and subsidiaries worldwide.
“Our idea was to harness this wide deployment in order to increase the sales of the Mer Group as a whole. Until recently, each office or subsidiary was dedicated to a specific division, dealing only with this divisions products. Now, all offices and subsidiaries belong to Mer global, which takes care of sales. When we approach a customer, we send him a Mer Global salesman, joined by a professional from the relevant division, who provides the professional solutions needed”.
How does the restructuring affect the systems division?
“After being appointed CEO, we changed the divisions name into Smart Mer. Behind this cosmetic change stands our outlook on the trends in the field of security, and about our place in this changing world. We are moving from the classic world of security solutions and smart city, which includes solutions such as electronic fences, security cameras, gate management and so on, to a more complex world, in which the layers of communication and connectivity are augmented by new data analytic, data fusion and insight creation functions. In these new fields, we plan to be technology producers. This is the frame of mind which led to changing of Athena’s status within the Mer group as well”.
Athena becomes a software company
As said, Athena was founded by former head of shin-Bet shabtai shavit, following the events of 9/11, and dealt mainly in consulting and project management of security and intelligence projects. By 2010, the company entered the field of software – developing intelligence and analytics systems. The company’s systems are based on deep learning in the field of Natural language processing (NLP) and Media processing in big data technology. These intelligence systems are used by leading intelligence and investigation authorities around the world – amongst them a leading western European financial fraud investigation authority, as well as the Israel Tax Authority.
Many of Athena’s employees have rich backgrounds in Israel’s various security branches. The company’s founder was head of the legendary Shin-Bet; Nir Lempert, Mer Gropu’s CEO was the Lieutenant Commander of the acclaimed 8200 unit in the IDF and Yoram Cohen, the former head of Israel’s internal security service has recently joined the Groups board of directors. Athena is now changing course – all the company’s consulting and project management activities were integrated into the Smart Mer division – and Athena has become a “pure” software company, focusing on the development of software applications in the fields of national and business intelligence, for the Smart Mer division.
What are your software products for security and intelligence applications?
“We have a control center operation software dubbed Secure-M. We are currently working on a new version of the system, some of our customers already received the new version, and we plan to officially launch it under the name SmartM in a few months’ time. In the field of cyber, we have a product dubbed Threat Actionable Intelligence. This is a unique program we developed, which scans the social media as well as the dark net, in order to produce pre-intelligence and alerts of possible cyber-attacks. As a company dealing with security, we cannot allow ourselves to ignore the cyber world. It is only natural for us to deal with cyber security. We understood that we don’t have a shelf product in this field, and that is why we decided to define it ourselves”.
“When we supply customers with a solution, we normally function as integrators and advisors. Our strategy is to make sure that the systems “brain” will be created by us. This is why we developed the Secure-M system for the field of homeland security, the Strategic Actionable Intelligence (SAIP) in the world of intelligence, and CATI for the cyber arena.
A further Intelligence product we develop is called Oper Source Collection and Respose (OSCAR). This is a software aimed to handle OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) collected from the web and social media. OSCAR enables the collection and ongoing monitoring of a wide range of sources in different formats and languages, including managing and operating multiple online identities.
“The intelligence field in the global security market is growing rapidly. This growth is based thems such as insight gathering based on big data analytics and cyber security. We are considering to make an acquisition in the cyber field in order to grow in this field. It’s a fairly new terrain for us, and in order to rapidly expand our cyber activities, we are considering the acquisition of a cyber security company. I believe that the field of Cyber will become Smart Mer’s growth engine.
You do not produce defense software. What do you mean by “cyber”?
“In the world of cyber, we are a service and integration company: be conduct risk surveys, penetration testing and so on. In addition, we supply intelligence services such as periodic reports, Saas CATI systmes supply. We are Mer Group’s main knowledge body in the fields of security, intelligence, cyber and smart cities. Most of our employees are intelligence persons and have former experience in these fields”.
“80% of our sales are outside Israel. Most of our customer are national and municipal bodies, although we have some private customers in the cyber field. The Mer Group has more than 1,000 employees, 600 of wich in Israel. We plan to employ further software, integration and cyber experts in 2017.”
Gilat Satellite Networks, a provider of satellite networking technology, solutions and services, announced today a strategic partnership with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media Group, to transform the domestic IFC market in China. The partners intend to utilize China’s Ka-band HTS capacity for domestic IFC services over mainland China.
Gilat and Air Esurfing will join forces to deliver broadband connectivity to airlines throughout China. Gilat will leverage its multi-service HTS platform that will operate with ChinaSatcom’s Ka-band capacity planned to be launched in 2017. Gilat’s solution will enable continuous service exceeding 100Mbps and servicing many dozens of passengers per aircraft. Gilat will provide a complete IFC terminal including its unique ER6000-A KuKa antenna terminal and its Taurus Modman. The partners will jointly pursue STC certification for the Gilat system with commercial pilots already planned for early 2018.
“We have chosen to collaborate with Gilat due to its proven presence in China and its technological leadership in Mobility baseband as well as Aero antenna terminals for IFC,” said Mr. Zhou Hong, General Manager Air Esurfing. “We see in Gilat the perfect partner to open the door for IFC in the domestic Chinese market and are excited about the joint opportunity.”
“Gilat is honored to have been selected by Air Esurfing, a key player in the domestic Chinese IFEC market, to jointly deliver on the promise of high quality connectivity for airline passengers throughout China,” said Jun Xiang, Gilat China General Manager. “China is a strategic market for Gilat and as such we have taken a key role in the development of HTS broadband over the last two years, with deployment of our multi-service platform to address both fixed and mobility applications. We are committed to the Chinese market and in particular to the Chinese IFEC market, and continue to seek additional Chinese as well as international players to partner in this mission, and are in discussion with several such players.”
Herzliya, Israel based Ecoppia announced today the full deployment of its E4 robotic solution in the Ketura Solar photovoltaic facility, on the border between Israel and Jordan. The company’s solution was deployed in the jointly-owned EDF RE and Arava Power facility on the southern Israel-Jordan border.
Soiling – the accumulation of dirt and dust on photovoltaic solar panel surfaces – is one of the greatest impediments to solar energy production. Located in the hot southern stretch the Arava desert, between the Gulf of Aqaba and the southern tip of the Dead Sea, Ketura Solar is close to dust-intensive agricultural sites, suffers from frequent sandstorms, and enjoys virtually no rain. Traditional labor-intensive, water-based cleaning solutions are neither cost-effective nor timely, since immediate recovery from sandstorms is mission-critical to maintain the facility’s LCOE.
“We’re pleased to bring the experience gained over four years of cleaning in multiple sites in the Middle East to this important facility in the region,” said Eran Meller, CEO of Ecoppia. “Cleaning 80 million solar panels in the harshest desert conditions globally, we expect to continue to play a leading role in this growing market,” he concluded.
Taking part in India’s solar revolution
In December, Ecoppia announced that it has reached an agreement with Solairedirect India, subsidiary of energy multinational ENGIE Group, to provide its automated systems within the Bhadla Solar Park in India. The company’s solution will be deployed in 168MW of a 190MW section of the solar park. The entire Bhadla Solar Park will be developed on 10,000 hectares of land and will have a total generation capacity of 2.3GW.
Ecoppia sees the Indian market as a strategic one – the world’s most populous democracy has vowed to support a gradual shift to renewable energy sources – mainly solar energy production. India has set an ambitious solar power target of 100GW by 2022. Solar Power production is planned to grow by 12GW in 2016-2017 and to increase slightly each year until the target is achieved. India’s ambitious plan have led Israeli Ecoppia to open a cutting edge production plant in the subcontinent.