You are here

450mm Wafer Manufacturing: Who Needs It?

Phoenix, Arizona May 13, 2010 - Who needs 450mm wafers? When should pilot production realistically be expected? These questions and more are addressed in the most recent Semico report entitled “450mm Wafer Manufacturing: Who Needs It?”. As the semiconductor industry grows its way out of the 2008/2009 downturn, it’s inevitable that the debate over 450mm wafers will rear its head again. The major objection to 450mm wafers lies in the research and development cost, and the ability of all parties involved to benefit from the large investment. The possibility that the semiconductor industry will be using 450mm wafers for volume production by 2012 is remote, but the probability that someday 450mm wafers will be in production has increased significantly. It’s no surprise that Intel, Samsung and TSMC are the first to band together in support of developing a 450mm research strategy. Even some of the equipment suppliers are beginning to participate in the 450mm wafer activities. The industry will not stagnate at the existing 300mm process technology. Consumer demands for more memory will push NAND and DRAM to ever increasing product densities and increased unit volumes. Logic products will continue to move up the performance curve while offering more features in a system-on-chip or multi-core product. The ability to produce chips in a more economical manufacturing environment is good for the overall industry future. It’s the availability of low cost memory and high performance processors and/or low power processors that creates new applications, increasing demand for electronic goods and more semiconductors, a cycle that keeps our industry ticking. In order to meet those technology demands, the industry will have to find a revolutionary solution. Whether it is 450mm wafers or not, the solution will most likely be expensive and disruptive. Will the industry choose an expensive solution that we’ve never tried before, i.e carbon nanotubes, or will we work with a familiar silicon wafer and just figure out how to accommodate a new size? It is true that there are fewer companies maintaining fabs, but the industry continues to demand chips with more functionality and fabs are needed to produce those chips in larger and larger volumes. Based on chip unit volumes, there will be a point when building one 450mm wafer fab will be more cost-effective than building two 300mm fabs. And based on past wafer transitions, all semiconductor manufacturers eventually benefit from the productivity improvements and technology options that a larger wafer size offers. The impact of what happens with 450mm wafer production will have a ripple effect throughout every semiconductor market. Gain invaluable insights and understanding into the 450mm debate so you’ll be prepared for what is inevitable……change. The report is now ready for consumption along with Semico’s Wafer Demand and Fab Database. For additional information or to purchase this report, please contact us at or 602-997-0337.

Monthly archive