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Pulse taking

22 October 2008 | By Mark Osborne | Editor's Blog

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Cymer Listening to the latest Cymer conference call highlighted that the major foundries are seeing a significant drop in fab utilization rates. Cymer provides a laser pulse chart each quarter, highlighting the use of its lasers during the lithography process step.

According to Cymer, foundries were operating at close to 100 percent, but this has now fallen to the mid-80 percent range. Memory production as expected has remained at high utilization rates but Cymer noted a small decline of a few percent. Logic has remained in the 70-80 percent range but that too is expected to drop, though by only a few percentage points.

With foundry utilization rates dropping to the mid-80s, very few foundries will return quarterly profits, with only TSMC historically able to turn a profit at those rates. As capital spending budgets get set soon, I would not be surprised to see the major foundries lower CapEx plans for 2009.

Cymer laser pulse usage

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