Semiconductor makers focus on flow control and treatment at leading edge; H20 reuse rises

June 22, 2012 — Semiconductor manufacturers will spend $2.3 billion in 2012 for flow control and treatment products, shows McIlvaine Company. Even more pure water is required as the line sizes on chips are decreasing. This aspect, coupled with the opportunity for water reuse, is creating new opportunities.

Also read: Semiconductors to use most ultrapure water in 2012

Table. World semiconductor flow control and treatment, 2012. These totals are based on extracts from six McIlvaine market reports.


Revenues ($M)

Ultrapure Water Systems *






Cross-flow Membranes










 *Less the other items listed separately below


Flow control and treatment products are used in semiconductor fabs to extract water from sources, purify it for use in chip cleaning, and other purposes, and to purify effluent prior to discharge. The water used in semiconductor processing must be extremely pure. Incoming water from a river source, or water already processed in a municipal drinking water plant, is subjected to granular media filters, cartridges, reverse osmosis, ion exchange and degasification, or other steps. The water is monitored for numerous parameters at parts per billion or trillion contamination levels.

The pumps and valves that process ultrapure water include special materials suited to the task, as are piping, tanks and other components of the ultrapure water system.

Environmentally conscious semiconductor fabs and fabs in water-scarce locations are reusing water where possible. Rinse water that was delivered to a tool but not used can undergo less stringent treatment than water that was used.

The semiconductor industry, including silicon photovoltaics, is outgrowing GDP thanks in part to photovoltaic production as well as mobile communications. Asia is the largest producer, and is forecast to widen the gap at the front. China is gaining on Korea, Taiwan and Japan as a major producer.

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