SAN FRANCISCO—Semiconductor manufacturing using 300-millimeter wafers will see production nearly double from 2010 to 2015 as chip producers increasingly employ them for older, more mature products, according to a report by market research firm IHS iSuppli.
By 2015, foundries and integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) will produce 8.753 billion square inches of silicon on 300-mm (12-inch) wafers, up from 4.799 billion in 2010—a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8 percent during the five-year period, IHS said. In 2011 alone, IDMs will produce some 5.609 billion square inches of silicon on 300-mm wafers, HIS said.
Len Jelinek, research director and analyst for semiconductor manufacturing at HIS, said in a statement that 300-mm wafers were initially employed only for the most advanced products. "However, that’s been changing over the course of the past two years, with both foundries and IDMs having determined that 12-inch wafers represent the most cost-effective manufacturing method for mature products," Jelinek said. "As a result, IHS forecasts a new period of rapid growth for 12-inch wafers."
IHS noted that semiconductor manufacturers are in the early stages of transitioning to the next-generation wafer size, 450-mm. But the firm said its not known whether semiconductor manufacturers, tool suppliers and silicon suppliers can profit from 450-mm wafers. According to IHS, indications are otherwise.
Despite questions about profitability, IHS said it expects some of the leading chip companies to being transitioning to 450-mm wafers in 2015. Some chip companies are already building facilities in preparation for alpha tool installation.