Semiconductors to use most ultrapure water in 2012

Feburary 7, 2012 — The electronics industry will edge out coal-fired boilers as the biggest purchaser of ultrapure water systems and consumables in 2012, according to the McIlvaine report: Ultrapure Water World Markets. In addition to chip makers and coal power plants, manufacturers of flat panel displays (FPD) will round out the top-3 spenders.

Ultrapure water includes boiler feed water, semiconductor rinsing water, pharmaceutical water used in products injected into humans, and the slightly less pure water for soft drinks and cosmetics. The global revenues for ultra-pure water systems and consumables will top $4 million this year.

Table. Ultrapure Water System and Consumables Revenues. SOURCE: McIlvaine.
Industry $K of ultrapure water spending
Electronics $1,377,103
Coal-fired Power $1,105,033
Flat Panel Displays $566,031
Pharmaceutical $412,474
Industrial Power $334,482
Gas Turbines $69,360
Other Industries $184,684
Worldwide 2012 total $4,049,167

Users are typically in Asia, where coal-fired power is growing and the majority of electronics, including semiconductors, are manufactured. Nearly all the world’s flat panel displays are built in Asia.

Ultrapure water technologies include membrane filtration systems for reverse osmosis, degasification, microfiltration, and ultrafiltration, each using different apertures.

In 2012, continuous electrodeionization will erode conventional ion-exchange technology’s market share, as it improves purification. As the line sizes in chips are reduced, the purification requirements for rinse water rises proportionately.

Ultrapure water systems can be quite complex. For example, in a semiconductor plant there can be a whole train of purification equipment followed by reverse osmosis. The purified water is then sent to one of the etching processes. The concern that some contamination could occur in the piping dictates the installation of a membrane cartridge filter.

For more information on Ultrapure Water World Markets, visit http://www.mcilvainecompany.com/brochures/water.html#n029.

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