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Interpretation of semiconductor equipment market trends

Interpretation of semiconductor equipment market trends

  • Categories:Industry News
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  • Time of issue:2020-07-31
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(Summary description)The new crown pneumonia continues to spread globally. At the time of writing this article (July 20, 2020), 14.3 million people worldwide have been infected with the new crown pneumonia, and the death toll exceeds 600,000. At present, the spread of new crown pneumonia is increasing, so countries around the world continue to "lock the door"! As a result, demand in the manufacturing industry has declined, the supply chain of parts and materials has been interrupted, and companies have generated huge deficits. Many companies are unable to predict the performance of the next financial year.

Interpretation of semiconductor equipment market trends

(Summary description)The new crown pneumonia continues to spread globally. At the time of writing this article (July 20, 2020), 14.3 million people worldwide have been infected with the new crown pneumonia, and the death toll exceeds 600,000. At present, the spread of new crown pneumonia is increasing, so countries around the world continue to "lock the door"! As a result, demand in the manufacturing industry has declined, the supply chain of parts and materials has been interrupted, and companies have generated huge deficits. Many companies are unable to predict the performance of the next financial year.

  • Categories:Industry News
  • Author:
  • Origin:
  • Time of issue:2020-07-31
  • Views:0
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The new crown pneumonia continues to spread globally. At the time of writing this article (July 20, 2020), 14.3 million people worldwide have been infected with the new crown pneumonia, and the death toll exceeds 600,000. At present, the spread of new crown pneumonia is increasing, so countries around the world continue to "lock the door"! As a result, demand in the manufacturing industry has declined, the supply chain of parts and materials has been interrupted, and companies have generated huge deficits. Many companies are unable to predict the performance of the next financial year.

However, the semiconductor industry has not been affected by the new crown pneumonia in the slightest. For example, Taiwan’s TSMC, which is at the top of the miniature processing technology, has mass-produced the 5-nanometer node ("node" is omitted hereafter) technology using the world's most advanced exposure equipment EUV. In addition, TSMC It also plans to start 3nm risk production in October and mass production in 2021. In addition, TSMC has officially started research and development of 2 nanometers, and plans to start 2 nanometer risk production in the second half of 2021. At the same time, South Korea's Samsung Electronics has been following TSMC. In other words, despite the global crisis of the new crown pneumonia, semiconductor miniaturization technology has not stagnated, but has accelerated its development.

Then, what about the shipment value of semiconductors and semiconductor production equipment? As shown below.

Shipment value of semiconductors and semiconductor production equipment

Figure 1 below shows the transition in the value of shipments of semiconductors and semiconductor production equipment from 1991 to 2019, and 2020 is the forecast value.

  

解读半导体设备市场趋势

 

Figure 1: Transitions in the value of shipments of semiconductors and semiconductor production equipment. (2020 and beyond are forecasts). (Picture from: The author made this picture based on data from WSTS and SEMI)

According to WSTS (World Semiconductor Trade Statistic, World Semiconductor Trade Statistics Association) forecasts, compared with the downturn of storage semiconductors in 2019, global semiconductor shipments in 2020 are expected to increase by 3.3% to 426 billion U.S. dollars (approximately RMB 2,982 billion) . Although the recovery of storage semiconductors is not good, the impact of new coronary pneumonia is almost negligible. On the other hand, according to SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International, International Semiconductor Industry Association) forecasts, the value of global semiconductor production equipment shipments in 2020 will decline by 4% compared with 2019. Compared with 2020, 2021 is expected to increase by 24%. , Increased to US$67.7 billion (approximately RMB 473.9 billion). Therefore, in terms of production equipment, although this year (2020) has been slightly affected by the new crown pneumonia and the growth rate has slowed down, it is expected that there will be an all-time high in 2021 (exceeding the actual performance of the storage semiconductor bubble in 2018).

It can be seen from the above that the new crown pneumonia has little impact on semiconductors and semiconductor production equipment, and both will return to a normal growth track in 2021. In terms of the reasons, the author speculates as follows: Although the new crown pneumonia has caused a serious decline in the demand for smart phones, digital home appliances, automobiles and other products, however, due to the popularity of remote office worldwide, the demand for PC terminals, data centers, etc. Expanded sharply.

The similarities and differences between the two (semiconductors, semiconductor production equipment) shipment amounts

Obviously, semiconductors and semiconductor production equipment will never be defeated by the new crown pneumonia (at least the author thinks so)! Moreover, there are both common and different points in the shipment value table of semiconductor and semiconductor production equipment in Figure 2 below. .

Figure 2 below is a transition table of semiconductor and semiconductor production equipment shipments calculated based on the value when the IT bubble burst in 2000. Both reached their peak during the IT bubble and fell in 2009 after the "Lehman shock" Entering the trough, in 2018 (storage semiconductor bubble) ushered in the peak again. In other words, the trends of the two lines floating up and down are basically the same.

  

解读半导体设备市场趋势

 

Figure 2: Trend of shipment value calculated based on the value when the IT bubble burst in 2000. (Picture from: The author made this picture based on data from WSTS and SEMI.)

But there are also differences between the two. After the IT bubble burst, semiconductor shipments quickly recovered and exceeded the shipment value of the IT bubble in 2004. Later, after excluding the “Lehman shock”, the decline basically showed an upward trend. In 2018, the shipment amount reached 2.3 times that of the IT bubble. On the other hand, as far as the shipment value of semiconductor production equipment is concerned, there has been a sharp decline after the IT bubble, but it has not recovered like semiconductors. The shipment value in 2007 and 2011 was basically close to the IT bubble, but it did not exceed the IT bubble. It exceeded the IT bubble for the first time in 2017 three years ago.

also said that it took 17 years to exceed the peak in 2000! Why did it take so long? Also, why did the shipment amount of semiconductor production equipment increase rapidly after entering 2017?

The main reason hindering the growth of semiconductor production equipment shipments

There are two main reasons why the shipment value of semiconductor production equipment is difficult to exceed the peak of the IT bubble. One is the reduction of cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturers, and the second is the increase in throughput (Through Put, the number of wafers processed in one hour) of various production equipment. Detailed below.

One is the decrease of cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturers. For example, in terms of DRAM, after 2000, Japanese companies continued to abandon DRAM production. In addition, in 2000, Taiwanese companies continued to abandon DRAM production. In addition, Qimonda, which was independent from Germany's Infineon Technologies in 2006, also closed in 2009. The only remaining Japanese company, Elpida Storage Semiconductor, also closed in 2012 and was acquired by Micron Technology in the United States. In the end, only Samsung, SK hynix, and Micron DRAM manufacturers remained.

In addition, as far as logic semiconductors are concerned, more and more manufacturers have given up research and development of cutting-edge miniaturization. For example, in August 2018, GLOBALFOUNDRIES of the United States announced that it would abandon research and development after 10 nanometers, so cutting-edge miniaturization technologies are concentrated in Intel and Samsung. , TSMC three companies. In addition, since 2016, Intel’s 10-nanometer startup has not been smooth, and the development of 7-nanometer and subsequent miniaturization is actually mainly concentrated in Samsung and TSMC.

As more and more semiconductor manufacturers are eliminated, fewer companies can make huge investment in equipment. Therefore, it is difficult to increase the amount of shipments of semiconductor production equipment.

The second main reason is that various semiconductor production equipment vendors are trying their best to increase the throughput of wafers. For example, when liquid immersion ArF exposure equipment appeared around 2007, the throughput was 130 pieces per hour, but today’s throughput The quantity can exceed 250 per hour. In other words, in 2007, two liquid immersion ArF exposure equipment were needed, but today only one is needed.

An even more incredible example is cleaning equipment. As we all know, semiconductor cleaning equipment has a "batch type" that processes 50 wafers at a time and a "monolithic type" that processes one by one. Of course, the throughput of the "batch type" is much greater than that of the "single chip". However, the "batch type" has a disadvantage, that is, the stains after cleaning are easy to remain on the wafer; although the "single chip" does not The shortcomings of residual stains, the throughput is not high. However, as far as "single-chip" equipment is concerned, the cleaning tanks that can be mounted on a device's platform (Platform) gradually increase to 4→8→16→24. Therefore, the throughput of "single-chip" is not inferior. In the "batch type", it even reached 800 per hour. As a result, with 2008 as a watershed, the "protagonist halo" of cleaning equipment has shifted from "batch type" to "single-chip type." As shown in Figure 3.

  

解读半导体设备市场趋势

 

Figure 3: Transition of shipment value of semiconductor cleaning equipment. (Picture from: The author made this picture based on Nomura Securities' figures.)

The only advantage of the “batch type” used to be higher throughput. If the “monolithic type” that solves the problem of stain residue can obtain the same amount of throughput, there is no reason to continue to use the “batch type” equipment. In other words, since 2014, the reason why the shipment value of "batch-type" equipment has increased is due to the need to use batch-type wafer etching equipment in the production of 3D NAND flash memory (hereinafter referred to as "NAND"), and The demand is constantly growing.

It is incredible that although semiconductor production equipment manufacturers have greatly increased the throughput of their equipment through their own efforts, the price of the equipment itself has not increased proportionally, that is to say, the production equipment manufacturers "have a cocoon." So, why after 2017, the amount of shipments of semiconductor production equipment will exceed that of the IT bubble in 2000 and achieve rapid growth?

3D NAND

Figure 4 below is a transition table of the shipment amount of various production equipment. Before 2015, the shipment amount of exposure equipment has been ranked first. After 2015, dry etching equipment began to rank first. In addition, the shipment value of CVD equipment has also grown rapidly. In 2017, the shipment value of CVD equipment was almost close to exposure equipment and inspection equipment.

  

解读半导体设备市场趋势

 

Figure 4: Trends in the amount of shipments of various semiconductor production equipment. (Picture from: The author made this picture based on Nomura Securities' figures.)

The author believes that the main reasons are the following: the big data era has officially arrived, the demand for data centers has soared, and the demand for storage semiconductors in the server direction has grown rapidly. Especially the 3Dization of NAND in storage semiconductors has played an important role. The storage density is increasing at a rate of 1.5 times every year. Therefore, the number of layers of 3D NAND is also increasing: 24 layers → 32 layers → 48 layers → 64 layers → 96 layers → 128 layers. For example, increasing from 64 layers to 96 layers requires 1.5 times the number of CVD equipment in theory.

In addition, the number of dry etching equipment required is not only increased by 1.5 times, that is, it takes about one hour to open the memory hole (Memory Hole) of a 64-layer 3D NAND. However, the deeper the opening, the slower the etching speed, so it takes many hours to open the 96-layer storage hole. However, only Samsung Electronics is currently processing a 96-layer (92-layer to be precise) memory hole. The 96-layer of other companies such as Kioxia uses a stack of two 48-layers. Since the 48-layer HARC etching is performed twice, twice as much dry etching equipment is required.

As a result, due to the 3D NAND and the increase in the number of layers, the demand for various devices is also increasing. The direct result is that the shipment value of semiconductor production equipment exceeded the peak of the IT bubble in 2017. The storage semiconductor market reached its peak in 2018, and storage semiconductors fell into a trough in 2019. It is predicted that after 2020, storage semiconductors will grow again, and the amount of semiconductor production equipment shipments will also grow again.

EUV effect

As shown in Figure 4, due to the downturn of storage semiconductors in 2019, the shipment value of many semiconductor devices has fallen. However, the shipment amount of exposure equipment has been increasing. As a result, the shipment value of exposure equipment in 2019 once again ranked first in TOP1. This is mainly due to the official popularization of EUV, the most sophisticated exposure equipment priced at 16 billion yen (approximately RMB 960 million) per set. At the "VLSI Symposium" held in June 2020, ASML announced that it had shipped 53 EUV devices (3400 series) in the fourth quarter of 2019. As shown in Figure 5 below, the number of sales in the first quarter of 2020 has increased 4 units, therefore, a total of 57 EUV devices have been sold in the first quarter of 2020.

  

解读半导体设备市场趋势

 

Figure 5: The cumulative shipment quantity of ASML's EUV exposure equipment. (Picture from: Anthony Yen, ASML, "EUV Lithography and Its Application to Logic and Memory Devices", VLSI 2020, SC1.5)

However, what is surprising is that on January 22, 2020, WikiChip Fuse reported that at the time of the fourth quarter of 2019, ASML’s EUV had 49 open orders (Open PO), and it was speculated that TSMC was 20. Samsung has 20 units, Intel has 4-5 units, and other Micron and SK hynix are small. According to industry insiders familiar with Lithography, after 2020, TSMC will import more than 20 EUV equipment every year. It is said that Samsung Electronics also plans to introduce 20 EUV exposure equipment every year starting in 2020. Based on this calculation, the two companies will start more than 100 EUV exposure equipment in total in 2025. Affected by the effect of EUV, the amount of shipments of exposure equipment will also increase substantially in the future. In addition, as far as EUV peripheral equipment is concerned, the shipment value of mask drawing equipment, mask inspection equipment, and coating development equipment (Coater Developper) will also increase.

Market share and future prospects of various semiconductor manufacturing equipment manufacturers

Finally, let’s take a look at the market share of various semiconductor production equipment companies in 2019 (see Figure 6 below). South Korea’s SEMES and China’s NAURA have also gained a certain market share in some areas, but in terms of overall equipment In other words, it is basically divided up by Japanese, American, and European companies.

  

解读半导体设备市场趋势

 

Figure 6: Market share of various semiconductor production equipment manufacturers (2019). (Picture from: The author made this picture based on data from Nomura Manufacturing Co., Ltd.)

Exposure equipment, coating and developing equipment (Coater Developper), sputtering equipment (Spatter), batch-type cleaning equipment, foreign object inspection equipment, defect inspection equipment are almost "one super-multi-strong" mode. In addition, photomask inspection equipment, CVD equipment, heat treatment equipment, CMP equipment, and single-chip cleaning equipment are the "two supers and more powerful" models. In addition, the dry erosion equipment is almost a "three super and one strong" model.

In short, as far as all semiconductor production equipment is concerned, certain companies in Japan, Europe, and the United States have created a "1 super-3 super + other" model, that is to say, these companies have brought together the technical essentials of semiconductor production equipment, It is difficult for companies to break into. Although China is pushing hard for the localization of semiconductor production equipment, the research and development of cutting-edge production equipment will take a long time.

So, what is the trend of the future shipment value of semiconductor production equipment? From past experience, the shipment value of semiconductor production equipment is more obvious than the fluctuation of the semiconductor itself. In the future, there should be "some bubble" and "something". With this phenomenon, the amount of shipments of semiconductor production equipment will also undergo substantial changes. However, the miniaturization of logic semiconductors has not stopped. In addition, the miniaturization of DRAM will continue to advance, and at the same time, the number of layers of 3D NAND should continue to increase.

Therefore, the author firmly believes that although the shipment value of semiconductor production equipment may fluctuate greatly, the overall trend is increasing. At least it will not be affected by the new crown pneumonia and continue to grow.

About the author:

Takashi Yukami, Director of Microprocessing Research Institute

was born in 1961 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Graduated from the Graduate School of Kyoto University (the master's program is nuclear engineering major), and then worked at Hitachi Manufacturing Co., Ltd. In the following 16 years, he has successively engaged in precision processing technology research and development in the Central Research Institute, the Semiconductor Division, the Equipment R&D Center, Elpida (transferred due to work), and the Research and Development Association of Semiconductor Frontier Technology Companies (ie Selete, transferred due to work). In 2000, he was awarded a doctorate degree in engineering by Kyoto University. Currently, he serves as a consultant and writer for the semiconductor industry and power machinery industry, and the director of the Microfabrication Research Institute. He is the author of "The Defeat of Japan's "Semiconductors"", "Lessons from the Great Collapse of the "Electrical and Semiconductor" Industries", "The Defeat of Japanese Manufacturing, Zero War Semiconductors, TVs".

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