SAN JOSE, Calif. Worldwide fab-capacity utilization rose above the 90 percent level in the second quarter of 2006, with leading-edge processes hovering around the 96 percent range, according to the Semiconductor International Capacity Statistics (SICAS) organization.
Worldwide fab-capacity for semiconductors hit 91.2 percent in the second quarter, up from 89.5 percent in the first quarter and 89.1 percent from a year ago, according to SICAS (Vessem, the The Netherlands).
The group bases its statistics on data supplied by merchant IC manufacturers that together represent the majority of the world's IC production.
The change occurred as a result of wafer starts jumping by 4.4 percent sequentially in the second quarter to 1.59 million wafer starts per week. Year-over-year growth was 16.8 percent.
Overall manufacturing capacity increased sequentially by 2.4 percent to 1.74 million wafer starts per week. Year-over-year growth was 14 percent.
Including both discrete ICs and semiconductors, worldwide fab capacity hit 91.4 percent in the second quarter, up from 89.8 percent in the first quarter, according to SICAS.
In the foundry area, the trend was even more pronounced with manufacturing capacity utilization jumping from 91.7 percent in the first quarter to 94.2 percent in the second quarter. In the like period a year ago, foundry utilization was a mere 83 percent.
Foundry wafer starts jumped by 5.9 percent sequentially to 264,100 wafer starts per week, while manufacturing capacity was up 3.1 percent to 280,300 wafer starts per week.
In 300-mm, capacity area growth continues at pace, rising 17.1 percent from the preceding quarter to 181,400 wafers. At the same time manufacturing starts grew 17.8 percent to 175,00 wafers resulting in a utilization percentage of 96.7 percent compared with 96.2 percent in the prior quarter.
For leading-edge process of below 0.12-micron, manufacturing capacity hit 96.9 percent in Q2, compared to 96.8 in Q1 and 95.4 percent a year ago. In the fourth quarter of last year, leading-edge processes below 0.12-micron peaked at 98.9 percent utilization.