Europe’s secondary industry in the spotlight

BY PETER CONNOCK, Chairman of memsstar

The dramatic shift from the trend for increasingly advanced technology to a vast array and volume of application-based devices presents Europe with a huge opportunity. Europe is a world leader in several major market segments – think automotive and healthcare as two examples – and many more are developing and growing at a rapid rate. Europe has the technology and manufacturing skills to satisfy these new markets but they must be addressed cost effectively – and that’s where the use of secondary equipment and related services comes in.

While Moore’s Law continues to drive the production of advanced devices, the broadening of the “More than Moore” market is poised to explode. All indicators are pointing to a major expansion in applications to support a massive increase in data interchange through sensors and related devices. The devices used to support these applications will range from simple sensors to complex packages but most can, and will, be built by “lower” technology level manufacturing equipment.

This equipment will, in many cases, be required to be “remanufactured” and “repurposed” but will allow semiconductor suppliers to extend the use of their depreciated equipment and/or bring in additional equipment, matched to their process needs, at reduced cost. In many cases this older equipment will need to be supported by advanced manufacturing control techniques and new test and packaging capabilities.

SEMI market research shows that investment in “legacy” fabs is important in manufacturing semiconductor products, including the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) class of devices and sensors, and remains a sizeable portion of the industries manufacturing base:

  • 150mm and 200mm fab capacity represent approximately 40 percent of the total installed fab capacity
  • 200mm fab capacity is on the rise, led by foundries that are increasing 200mm capacity by about 7 percent through to 2016 compared to 2012 levels
  • New applications related to mobility, sensing, and IoT are expected to provide opportunities for manufacturers with 200mm fabs

Out of the total US$ 27 billion spent in 2013 on fab equipment and US$ 31 billion spent on fab equipment in 2014, secondary fab equipment represents approximately 5 percent of the total, or US$ 1.5 billion, annually, according to SEMI’s 2015 secondary fab equipment market report. For 2014, 200mm fab investments by leading foundries and IDMs resulted in a 45 percent increase in spending for secondary 200mm equipment.

Secondary equipment will form at least part of the strategy of almost anyone manufacturing or developing semiconductors in Europe. In many cases, it is an essential capability for competitive production. As the secondary equipment industry increases its strategic importance to semiconductor manufac- turers and researchers it is critical that the corresponding supply chain ensures a supply of quality equipment, support and services to meet rapidly developing consumer needs.

Common challenges across the supply chain include:

  • How to generate cooperation across Europe between secondary equipment users and suppliers and what sort of cooperation is needed?
  • How to ensure the availability of sufficient engineering resource to support the European secondary installed base?
  • Are there shortages of donor systems or critical compo- nents that are restricting the use of secondary equipment and, if so, how might this be resolved

Europe’s secondary industry will be in the spotlight during two sessions at SEMICON Europa 2015:

  • Secondary Equipment Session – Enabling the Internet of “Everything”?
  • SEA Europe ‘Round Table’ Meeting

The sessions are organised by the SEMI SEA Europe Group and are open to everyone associated with the secondary industry, be they device manufacturer or supplier, interested in the development of a vibrant industry providing critical support to cost effective manufacturing in Europe.

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