Akoustic acquires GDSI to package its XBAW filters in the United States

Akoustis Technologies, an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced that it has acquired Grinding and Dicing Services, (“GDSI”), a US-based provider of premium back-end semiconductor supply chain services. Akoustis’ acquisition of GDSI is expected to support a strategy to reshore its packaging of XBAW filters to the United States and to support its anticipated application for funding under the CHIPS and Science Act. 

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, “Announcement that Akoustis is bringing new job-creating semiconductor technology back to America, and specifically to Upstate New York, is another example of the economic benefits made possible by my CHIPS and Science Act. Akoustis’ new capabilities will both enhance and expand the Finger Lakes region’s semiconductor industry, which is already home to unique assets in the semiconductor packaging space.”

The rationale for the acquisition and expected benefits include:

  • The addition of a diverse, high-margin premium services business that is immediately accretive to our operating model. The gross margins of this new business unit are projected to be approximately 60%
  • Achievement of $1M in cost savings/avoidance related to RF filter prototype activity within the next 18 months
  • Strategic alignment with Akoustis’ strategy to leverage the CHIPS Act of 2022 to create new jobs as we reshore core packaging capabilities from Asia to an advanced packaging center located on our Canandaigua campus in upstate New York. Specifically, this acquisition allows the opportunity to scale-up our backend core competencies including wafer grinding and Stealth Dicing® process capabilities supporting our CSP and WLP onshore package manufacturing
  • Driving improved rapid prototype and development cycle time for Akoustis XBAW® filters through back-end process integration and supply chain efficiencies
  • Integration of onshore front-end and back-end supply chains supporting national security
  • New, synergistic sales channels in the defense market, including an active “Trusted Supplier” accreditation with the Department of Defense
  • The addition of the GDSI management team along with significant technical talent in wafer grinding and dicing to complement Akoustis’ front-end XBAW technology
  • The expansion of XBAW® RF filter margins through the internalization of the grinding and dicing process supply chains

Jeff Shealy, founder, and CEO of Akoustis, stated, “I am pleased to welcome Joe Collins along with the entire GDSI team to the Akoustis family. We look forward to expanding our internal supply chain capabilities and supporting the growth of GDSI’s business with external customers.” Mr. Shealy continued, “The acquisition of GDSI will enable Akoustis to speed the development of our XBAW® filters to take on the rapidly expanding demand for BAW filters that operate at frequencies above 3 GHz.”

Akoustis continues to experience strong demand and a growing sales funnel for its Wi-Fi, 5G mobile, and 5G infrastructure products, including CBRS XBAW® filters, as well as its new XBAW® and RFMi resonator and oscillator products. During the last quarter, the Company shipped multiple samples of its new 5G XBAW® wafers complete with its new, advanced wafer-level packaging (WLP) technology. Akoustis continues to add new Wi-Fi design wins, many of which are expected to ramp into production in calendar 2023.

Akoustis is actively delivering volume production of its Wi-Fi 6 tandem filter solutions, shipping multiple 5G small cell XBAW® filter solutions, and delivering initial designs of its new 5G mobile filter solutions to multiple customers and is now entering the market with its new Wi-Fi 6E coexistence XBAW® filter solutions. To date, Akoustis has received more than 20 customer design wins for its patented XBAW® filter solutions.

Given the rapidly growing sales funnel activity, as well as ongoing interaction with customers regarding expected ramps in 5G mobile, Wi-Fi 6, and Wi-Fi 6E in calendar 2023, the Company is completing the annual production capacity increase at its New York fab to approximately 0.5 billion filters per year.