Silicon wafers are the basic building block for the semiconductors used for the smallest sensor in a light bulb to the most advanced electronic system in the space shuttle. It all starts from semiconductor grade polysilicon and is processed precisely to fit the needs of each application.
One of the most common semiconductor manufacturing material questions that Semico gets from the financial community doesn’t deal with FinFETs or metamaterials. The question revolves around the ability for existing silicon wafer manufacturers to deliver an adequate supply of 300mm and 200mm wafers to support the continued demand for more powerful semiconductor ICs and the millions of sensors required for the deployment of the Internet of Things.
Although the market suppliers have been narrowed down to only five major players, there continues to be changes in wafer products, technology and market conditions. The prospects for another collaboration or merger are highly likely.
2016 was supposed to be the year when the first 450mm pilot line was expected to go into operation. Semico anticipated a smooth transition with plenty of 300mm capacity to support the existing demand for high performance chips while moving high volume products such as application processors for cell phones to facilities that utilized the larger, 450mm wafers. As it became more evident that 450mm wafer production would be postponed, the concern over the ability to satisfy all 300mm wafer needs became worrisome.
This report provides an analysis of the changing market landscape and the players involved. It includes a review of the wafer demand situation today, the current suppliers of wafers and the outlook for their products.