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Chip equipment spending to grow in 2010

Posted: 15 Dec 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:semiconductor  IC equipment  wafer fab 

Worldwide semiconductor equipment spending will end 2009 with a 42.6 per cent decline, according to Gartner Inc. However, the market analyst assures, the market is currently in the midst of a very strong growth spurt. Gartner forecasts semiconductor equipment spending to increase 45.3 per cent in 2010.

"Foundry spending and select spending by a few memory companies drove the growth in the semiconductor equipment segment in the second half of 2009," said Dean Freeman, research VP at Gartner. "2010 growth will be driven by technology upgrades for 1H 10. The quarterly growth may see a slight lull in Q3 10 before capacity additions, starting in late 2010, ramp up the equipment industry into 2011."

While all segments of the semiconductor equipment market experienced significant declines in 2009, all segments of the market will experience strong double-digit growth in 2010.

Worldwide wafer fab equipment (WFE) spending is expected to decrease 48.1 per cent in 2009. For 2010, the most likely scenario is for WFE spending to increase 56.6 per cent, representing a significant improvement from Gartner's last forecast in September which had WFE spending in 2010 up by only 38 per cent. For 2010, the big question will be the availability of 193 immersion steppers. These are the critical items for all technology upgrades. In foundry, TSMC will be installing its first immersion steppers. For memory, the leading edge for DRAM will move into the 4xnm range, also requiring immersion. At this time, Gartner analysts do not see that a shortage of immersion tools will develop, but the availability of long lead items could limit WFE growth in 2010 if the market heats up more.

Worldwide packaging and assembly equipment spending is forecast to decrease 40.5 per cent in 2009, then increase 52.8 per cent in 2010. During Gartner's forecast period, certain equipment segments will have substantially higher growth. For example, demand for equipment for advanced processes, such as wafer-level packaging, 3D processes, and through-silicon vias manufacturing, is expected to grow faster than demand for the general market.

For 2009, worldwide ATE is on pace to decline 44.9 per cent. This will be followed by growth of 59.7 per cent in 2010. After falling substantially for several quarters through Q1 09, the ATE market recovered in the Q2 09. Growth is expected to continue during the next several quarters as device demand improves. For 2010, Gartner's forecast projects substantial ATE industry growth of nearly 60 per cent, mainly from the transition to the mainstream adoption of DDR3 memory.

"The impact of fewer equipment customers will continue to play out in the semiconductor equipment market and further consolidation is to be expected, with mergers and acquisitions, as well as companies closing down that can no longer afford to run a business in the semiconductor industry," said Bob Johnson, research VP at Gartner. "While initially this may seem to be a dark time for the equipment segment, as the industry consolidates a much stronger equipment sector will emerge to carry on in the future."

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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