San Francisco, CA. SEMI kicked off SEMICON West this morning with a press conference emphasizing the event’s theme: “Smart Starts Here.” Dave Anderson, SEMI Americas president, said, “The industry is doing great—2017 will be a record year. North America is now a $10 billion plus market for equipment and materials.” He added that SEMI’s span of the extended electronics supply chain is reflected in a focus this week on several verticals: smart automotive, smart medtech, smart manufacturing, and the world of IoT.

Anderson’s geographical focus is the Americas, but he emphasized that SEMI serves a global audience. Highlighting the worldwide industry picture, Ajit Manocha, who has just completed 100 days as SEMI president and CEO, commented that assuming his new position couldn’t have been at a better time than this year, as the industry sets records. He presented a “very impressive set of data,” highlighting some key points: the automotive electronics market will reach $280 billion globally, and 347.4 million* smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter. In addition, he said, the global medical electronics market is expected to reach $219 billion by 2024.

Manocha cited China as being very active in the semiconductor industry, with 24 new fab projects having been initiated in the country since the beginning of 2016. He noted that the most recent SEMICON China event drew nearly 70,000 people.

SEMICON West doesn’t generate that level of attendance, but, said Anderson, it nevertheless annually brings 27,000 people, including this year representatives of 530 exhibiting companies, to San Francisco and represents a $50 million annual economic contribution to the city. Forty-nine percent of visitors have engineering job functions, he said, and despite the Americas emphasis of the event, 18% of visitors travel from 14 different countries to attend.

Manocha cited several initiatives within SEMI, both global and local. A Korea, Japan, SEA, and Europe regional advisory board promotes a “one SEMI” concept with advocacy of sustainable manufacturing, standards, and workforce development. Work with the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group is helping enable the IoT, while collaboration with Flex and FlexTech addresses the emerging market for flexible hybrid electronics and the intersection of electronics and applications—reflecting the state of the semiconductor industry 20 or 30 years ago. The SEMI Foundation, he said, promotes the SEMI High Tech University program for early STEM education and workforce development. And finally, he said, the SEMI Washington Forum addresses policy issues including the 4 Ts: trade, tax, talent, and technology funding.

Jamie Girard, senior director for public policy, elaborated on policy. The Washington Forum, he said, operates a full staff in D.C. to focus on the needs of the semiconductor industry and supply chain. It represents members’ interests in negotiated trade agreements and voices concerns to federal trade officials. He noted that 85% of the goods and materials produced by U.S. member companies are exported, so free trade is of paramount importance.

The Washington Forum also communicates the impact on membership of tax policies and makes recommendation on tax reform, pushing for lower rates, a territorial system, and innovation incentives, he said. The organization also opposes cuts in R&D but has found some good news in the announcement of $75 million in DARPA funding for semiconductor research, focusing on materials, architecture, and design for the “post Moore’s Law” era. Finally, Girard said, the Washington Forum is pushing for immigration reform for highly skilled workers. He cited in particular the Immigration Innovation Act, currently circulating in an updated draft, which would raise the H1-B visa cap from 65,000 to 115,000.

Anderson during his presentation addressed the SEMICON West venue. Attendees this year, he noted, have been greeted with a giant hole in the ground where most of the Moscone Center’s South Hall used to be. In good news for next year’s attendees, the new, larger South Hall should be completed for SEMICON West 2018.

Mid-year forecast

SEMI also reported today that worldwide sales of new semiconductor manufacturing equipment are projected to increase 19.8% to total $49.4 billion in 2017, marking the first time that the semiconductor equipment market has exceeded the market high of $47.7 billion set in 2000. In 2018, 7.7% growth is expected, resulting in another record-breaking year—totaling $53.2 billion for the global semiconductor equipment market.

The SEMI Mid-year Forecast predicts wafer processing equipment is anticipated to increase 21.7% in 2017 to total $39.8 billion. The other front-end segment, which consists of fab facilities equipment, wafer manufacturing, and mask/reticle equipment, will increase 25.6% to total $2.3 billion. The assembly and packaging equipment segment is projected to grow by 12.8% to $3.4 billion in 2017 while semiconductor test equipment is forecast to increase by 6.4%, to a total of $3.9 billion this year.

In 2017, South Korea will be the largest equipment market for the first time. After maintaining the top spot for five years, Taiwan will place second, while China will come in third. All regions tracked will experience growth, with the exception of Rest of World (primarily Southeast Asia). South Korea will lead in growth with 68.7%, followed by Europe at 58.6%, and North America at 16.3%.

SEMI forecasts that in 2018, equipment sales in China will climb the most, 61.4%, to a total of $11.0 billion, following 5.9% growth in 2017. In 2018, South Korea, Taiwan, and China are forecast to remain the top three markets, with South Korea maintaining the top spot to total $13.4 billion. China is forecasted to become the second largest market at $11.0 billion, while equipment sales to Taiwan are expected to reach $10.9 billion.

200-mm fabs

SEMI also issued an update to its 200-mm fab outlook report, forecasting 200-mm fab trends out to 2021. SEMI’s analysts updated information on over 100 facilities, including the latest new facilities and investment projects in China. SEMI’s new report “Global 200-mm Fab Outlook to 2021” tracks production, pilot, and R&D 200-mm facilities worldwide with special attention on capacity expansions and new facilities.

Examining 200-mm capacity over the years, the highest level of 200-mm capacity was recorded in 2007 and the lowest following this peak in 2009. The capacity decline from 2007 to 2009 was driven by the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, which caused the closure of many facilities, and by the transition of memory and MPU fabrication to 300-mm fabs.

Since 2009, installed 200-mm fab capacity has increased, and by 2020, 200-mm capacity is expected to reach almost 5.7 million wafers per month (wpm) and poised to surpass the 2007 peak. According to SEMI’s World Fab Forecast data, by the end of this year, installed capacity will reach close to 5.4 million wpm.

*Corrected.

SEMICON West targets smart automotive, medtech, manufacturing
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Rick Nelson
Rick became Executive Editor for EE in 2011. Previously he served on several publications, including EDN and Vision Systems Design, and has received awards for signed editorials from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He began as a design engineer at General Electric and Litton Industries and earned a BSEE degree from Penn State.

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