Fabs in high-risk zones, 450mm, 3D IC themes of Semico’s Semiconductor Fab Database

January 18, 2012 — 36% of semiconductor fabs are in high-risk zones, finds Semico in its Semiconductor Updated Fab Database. Semico notes the industry disruptions caused by the Japan earthquake and tsunami (March 2011) and the flooding in Thailand (Fall 2011) and the challenges these presented to large chip manufacturers in the regions, as well as strains put on the semiconductor and electronics supply chains.

Highlights from Semico:

  • The 36% of fabs that are in the ring of fire contribute 41% of the world’s total semiconductor capacity.
  • From a capacity standpoint, Japan contributes 47.7% of that 41%, Taiwan has another 47.5%, and the US only 4.8%.
  • Only 15% of the fabs are memory fabs, but those fabs supply half of the world’s total memory capacity. 
  • 42% of the world’s total logic capacity is produced in the high-risk area of the ring of fire.

In 2011, another analyst firm, IC Insights, estimated that almost two-thirds of worldwide IC industry capacity was located in seismically active areas, owing to the size of the fabs in the Asia-Pacific. Video: Bill McClean discusses seismic risk for IC manufacturing, supply & demand

The Thai floods will cause disruption into 2012. A resolution of Thailand supply constraints in 1H will be followed by stronger product cycles/easier compares in 2H, said Credit Suisse’s J. Pitzer in a bulletin this week. Near term, the semi space saw "multiple challenges in C4Q11 from the impact of the Thai flooding to reduced demand from Europe and the consequential effect on consumer sentiment," agreed Vijay Rakesh of Sterne Agee.

These changes, also with the economic crisis in Europe, caused a flat growth year in 2011, impacted the status of semiconductor fabs worldwide: capacity, capex, wafer size, closures, launches, production ramps, technology node migration, and employee count.

Semico’s 2011 Fab Database study provides information on changes that occurred in 2011, and what plans are in place for upcoming fab construction and closures in 2012-2013. The report addresses development work occurring with 450mm and 3D production. A special section is devoted to DRAM and NAND fab trends. The report compares the number of fabs used by IDMs versus the number for foundries, and how many are used for major semiconductor categories including logic, memory, analog/discretes, LED and MEMS production.

Semico’s fab database includes 769 entries, covering fabs that are planned, under construction, installing tools, operating, closing, and closed. Fabs that were planned, never built, and then cancelled were excluded from this report.

Semico is a semiconductor marketing & consulting research company. Learn more at www.semico.com.

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