Fab equipment spending ascending

By Christian G. Dieseldorff, Industry Research & Statistics Group at SEMI (September 6, 2016)

SEMI’s Industry Research and Statistics group has published its August update of the World Fab Forecast report. The report has served the industry for 24 years, observing and analyzing spending, capacity, and technology changes for all front-end facilities worldwide, from high-volume to R&D fabs.  SEMI’s latest data show increasing equipment spending, reaching 4.1 percent YOY in 2016 and 10.6 percent in 2017. Figure 1 (below) shows a forecast of  -2 percent decline from 2H2015 to 1H2016 and an 18 percent increase from 1H2016 to. 2H2016.

Figure 1: Fab Equipment Spending by Quarter

Figure 1: Fab Equipment Spending by Quarter

The largest growth drivers for the industry are mobile devices (including devices using SSDs), automotive, and soon anticipated to be IoT, with these applications, in many cases, requiring 3D NAND and Logic 10nm/7nm.

The SEMI report indicates that the two industry segments leading to the biggest increase in 2H16 are Foundry (29 percent) and Memory (21 percent).  Growth in Memory is driven by a significant increase in 3D NAND spending in 2016. Comparing 2016 to 2017, Foundry growth remains quite steady, with a 14 percent increase in 2016 and 13 percent in 2017.

Companies like Samsung, Micron, Flash Alliance, Intel, and SK Hynix drive Memory growth with 3D NAND to an astounding 152 percent increase in 2016 and 29 percent in 2017. However, utilization of all this equipment is still low in 2016 but is expected to increase in 2017.

Looking at other product segments, DRAM equipment spending is expected to decline by 31 percent in 2016 and then recover slightly with 2 percent growth in 2017. Power devices also show strong growth with 25 percent in 2016 and 16 percent in 2017. The Analog segment will slump by -15 percent in 2016 but increase by 20 percent in 2017. Similarly, MPU will drop -20 percent in 2016 and then is expected to increase by 48 percent in 2017.

Comparing spending by region in 2016, SE Asia shows the largest growth, with 157 percent in 2016, driven mainly by 3D NAND (see Figure 2).

China, in third place for overall spending, shows 64 percent growth for 2016 primarily due to 3D NAND by non-Chinese companies, closely followed by Foundry companies. Although the largest spenders in China currently are overseas device companies, China-based chipmakers are starting to pick up investment activity.

Figure 2: Fab Equipment Spending by Region

Figure 2: Fab Equipment Spending by Region

By contrast, the largest growth rate in 2017 is in Europe/Mideast with about 60 percent which is mainly due to ramping of 10nm facilities. Korea is in second place for total spending, mainly driven by Samsung’s investment in DRAM and Flash. Japan in third place driven by Flash Alliance (3D NAND).

The World Fab Forecast report provides more detailed information by company and fab for construction spending, equipment spending and capacities by region and product type.  Since the last publication in May 2016, the SEMI research team has made over 330 changes to 300 facilities/lines. This includes 27 new records and 18 records closed.

For information about semiconductor manufacturing for the remainder of 2016 and in 2017, and for details about capex for construction projects, fab equipping, technology levels, and products, order the SEMI World Fab Forecast Report. The report, in Excel format, tracks spending and capacities for over 1,100 facilities including over 82 future facilities, across industry segments from Analog, Power, Logic, MPU, Memory, and Foundry to MEMS and LEDs facilities.  Using a bottoms-up approach methodology, the SEMI Fab Forecast provides high-level summaries and graphs, and in-depth analyses of capital expenditures, capacities, technology and products by fab.

The SEMI Worldwide Semiconductor Equipment Market Subscription (WWSEMS) data tracks only new equipment for fabs and test and assembly and packaging houses.  The SEMI World Fab Forecast and its related Fab Database reports track any equipment needed to ramp fabs, upgrade technology nodes, and expand or change wafer size, including new equipment, used equipment, or in-house equipment. Also check out the Opto/LED Fab Forecast. Learn more about the SEMI fab databases at: www.semi.org/MarketInfo/FabDatabase and www.youtube.com/user/SEMImktstats

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