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INVESTMENT FROM SEMICONDUCTOR EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS IS EXPLODING, BOOSTING INNOVATION
Significant advances in functionalities and decreases in cost have helped semiconductor devices evolve to the point where they are omnipresent in our daily lives. Our current dependency on the semiconductor industry has recently come into the spotlight, particularly in terms of the complexity of its manufacturing and supply chain. But this large industry is far from homogeneous, extending from leading memory and logic device manufacturers following Moore’s Law to More than Moore devices, including photonic devices, image sensors, power devices, and MEMS. This fragmentation operates along the lines of technology roadmaps, production equipment needs including lithography, deposition, etching, wafer bonding and cleaning, and wafer size and type (4” to 12”, silicon to sapphire, SiC, GaN, GaAs, InP, mainly glass). With an ever-growing semiconductor market, providing the building blocks for megatrends such as 5G, electric vehicles (EV) and datacenters in such a complex environment is crucial. Yole Group helps you with valuable and detailed market forecasts and technology roadmaps. We back this intelligence with our capacity to perform teardowns, reverse engineering in semiconductor manufacturing and reverse costing of all new devices, technologies and modules to provide you with accurate insights.
From deposition to etching, lithography and cleaning, then through photoresist and dedicated chemicals, processing a silicon wafer with advanced technology nodes requires huge investments. And ever increasing budgets are necessary to set up the production line with high-performance equipment and a highly qualified team of engineers and operators. All the while preparing the future with new developments.
Building a leading-edge factory that produces 50,000 wafers per month costs about $15 billion, and most of this is spent on specialized equipment. As manufacturing infrastructure runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is linked to high CAPEX, having a solid production infrastructure is essential to achieving targeted production costs as well as the expected Return On Investment (ROI).
Multiple investments are also happening at the tens-of-billions level. This is to support legacy technology for manufacturing power devices, image sensors, and photonic devices, among others. Semiconductor manufacturing is the aggregation of all these investments, combined with the technology developments that are enabling the innovation.
The semiconductor manufacturing industry is undergoing major changes at all sorts of technical, industrial and geopolitical levels.
Semiconductor front-end manufacturing is a very large industry, driving increasing capital expenditures every year – that’s $140 billion for 2022 alone. Multiple new 300mm lines are coming online, along with the extension of 200mm manufacturing plants.
At Yole Group, we are tracking such developments to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of these changes.
To explore new areas and expand business opportunities, we follow and analyze changes in the players’ business models. We look at technology development integration to understand the evolution the supply chain.
Yole Group delivers a smart combination of technical analysis and manufacturing implementation on top of strategic thinking.
As chips get smaller and competition increases, semiconductor companies need a new strategy that considers everything from fab size to supply-chain issues.
At Yole Group, we help you understand every aspect of the semiconductor manufacturing industry, all along its supply chain: from material suppliers, equipment manufacturers, foundries, Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) and Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDM), all the way to applications and end-systems relying on semiconductor chips.
We conduct detailed analyses of the latest semiconductor manufacturing technologies, and help you to make the right decisions in a high-tech sector where innovation is key.
Our analysts have a smart understanding of semiconductor manufacturing technologies and platforms, covering the whole supply chain. They interact with leading semiconductor companies on a daily basis to identify, understand and analyze the various technical issues. Through their investigations, they point out the technical choices made by the leading semiconductor companies and quantify the numerous market segments.
By combining technical and market expertise and by considering the latest news coming from the industry, you get a comprehensive overview of the semiconductor market, with up-to-date market figures and technology insights.
Markets remain narrowly focused on shortages across specific sectors of the supply chain. It is nonetheless important to emphasize how critical semiconductors are to every major system category, as growth remains unabated.
Demand for PCs, game consoles, tablets, wireless headphones, earbuds, smart watches and OTT media devices will remain robust. New gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony, continued strong sales of wearables from Apple, and the rise in smart home networks managed by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant will accelerate growth. Mobile phone sales remain flat, but revenue will grow due to a shift to higher-priced 5G semiconductors, more memory per phone, sensors, and RF support for more spectrum bands.
Despite of increasing demand and shortages impacting the global semiconductor industry, the market is committing to increasing its overall output capacity at an unprecedented level. Capital expenditures are contributed mostly by the three largest players such as TSMC, Intel and Samsung, to the tune of several hundred billion dollars in two years. Governments have also committed hundreds of billions of dollars, to relocate manufacturing and hopefully counter difficulties in the supply chain. Some relocation occurs in traditional manufacturing clusters such as Taiwan and South Korea. Increasingly, it makes its way to the United-States, China, Japan, Singapore, Israel, and Europe. This brings chip production closer to the next step in the supply chain.
Due to the value flow shifting from hardware to software, giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Alibaba – as well as car makers like Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota – are stepping into the semiconductor arena.
Such leading companies are willing to control the semiconductor supply chain and participate in manufacturing where needed.
This extends not only to semiconductor product and supply chain coordination, but also to designing part of the semiconductor in-house to ensure products are customized and optimized to the specific software, system or application.
This is one of the developments that will drastically change the semiconductor world in the coming years.
The development of More Moore toward 1nm transistors is driving massive investment and innovation. Material manufacturers and equipment makers, along with their customers, are investing to overcome the technology challenges and support such advanced manufacturing nodes.
The More than Moore applications are also pushing investment into new technologies and innovations, such as photonics (primarily silicon photonics, but also UVC LED and VCSELs), power devices, CMOS Image Sensor (CIS), and advanced packaging. All of which are also taking full benefit of the investments made by equipment makers and material suppliers to increase device performance, lower manufacturing costs and simplify the overall process flows. This is progressively turning the semiconductor industry into an aggregation of multiple submarkets with dedicated technology and process roadmaps.