The latest SEMI World Fab Forecast report follows in the footsteps Fabtech reported last week, concerning Applied Materials own projection of significant CapEx growth for fab equipment in 2011. The new report projects fab capital equipment to increase 28% over 2010 levels and 22% growth with respect to spending on fab projects worldwide that includes construction, facilities, and equipping.
“Total spending on fab projects could approach US$47.2 billion this year, above the estimated US$38.6 billion spent in 2010,” said Christian Gregor Dieseldorff, senior analyst of fab information in the SEMI Industry Research and Statistics group. “2011 spending will finally exceed the peak year’s 2007 fab spending of US$46.4 billion.”
According to Dieseldorf, the majority of capital spending is being directed towards upgrading existing facilities, as companies try to avoid overcapacity and oversupply.
He noted that prior to the economic downturn, capacity growth from 2004 to 2007 ranged from 14 to 23% per year. SEMI’s World Fab Forecast predicts slower but steady growth in capacity, about 9% for 2011 and 7% for 2012 through 2014.
The report also highlights a rapid slow down seen in new 300mm fabs being constructed. Apparently were seven 300mm volume fabs under construction in 2010, while Intel’s D1X fab is the only new facility predicted to start construction in mid-2011 (though Intel has already announced Fab 42 starting construction this year). However, SEMI sees three 300mm fabs groundbreaking in 2012.
Though there have been no 450mm fab announcements to date, SEMI highlighted that it has identified seven facilities (R&Ds, pilots and volume fabs) that could be classified with 450mm readiness. The first facilities are expected to come on line in 2013 and as with Intel’s D1X announcement would be 450mm compatible.
At SEMI’s ISS Europe, held this week in Grenoble, Leonard Hobbs, Head of R&D at Intel Ireland, responded to press questions on what 450mm compatible meant. He responded that this related to cleanroom size, ceiling heights and the load-bearing capability of cleanroom floors, amongst other such criteria.