July 28, 2011 — Doug Elder, president & CEO of Boston Semi Equipment (BSE Group) LLC (a holding company for a portfolio of companies providing secondary equipment and service solutions to semiconductor manufacturers), says the company is seeing a resurgence in interest and demand for 200mm front-end equipment. The demand is being driven by the LCD, LED, MEMS, and power management segments.
Elder explains that most of the equipment can manufacture consumer devices; IC manufacturers are looking for a lower cost way to add capacity. "The very elaborate functional decisions that people used to make when they were buying semiconductor manufacturing equipment are replaced with economic decision," said Elder. And the back-end market for secondary equipment is also growing as manufacturers look for ways to deal with rapid changes in capacity. Also discussed in the podcast is differences in the secondary equipment market by region (see the Figure).
|Figure. 2010 secondary equipment sales by region. SOURCE: Semico Research Corp.|
However, 200mm equipment is not the only game in town when it comes to secondary equipment. Some companies are looking to add capacity or go to smaller geometry and are looking for 300mm equipment, including steppers and implanters, said Elder. And some are looking to add additional 300mm capacity at a lower price to eke out the most margin as possible. There is a very active 300mm market in which end users are participating. Elder mentions TI’s recent announcement that it put together a 300mm fab for its analog components. "With other companies such as National Semiconductor, Analog Devices, moving to 300mm for analog devices, it’s pretty exciting for us," he said. Adding to the excitement is that some of the equipment coming out of the Flash and memory markets gets redeployed to other areas.