© Elmos Semiconductor Electronics Production | September 15, 2010

Semiconductor equipment spending on 122% growth in 2010

Worldwide semiconductor capital equipment spending is projected to approach USD 36.9 billion in 2010, a 122.1% increase from 2009 spending of USD 16.6 billion, according to Gartner.
"The strong semiconductor growth in 2010 has driven semiconductor capital growth to all-time highs," said Klaus Rinnen, managing vice president at Gartner. "Capital expenditure (capex) is above 95% due to strong spending by the foundry and logic segments, along with a technology upgrade for the memory manufacturers. In 2011, capex growth is expected to slow to 10%, because a slowing economy will negatively impact electronic and semiconductor sales."

"Companies should prepare their manufacturing plan for a softer 2011, when equipment purchases will focus more on capacity than technology equipment", Mr. Rinnen said. "Companies should also prepare business plans for the next equipment down cycle, starting in late 2012, because memory companies will have overinvested, thus generating excess equipment."

2010 is shaping up as the strongest year for the wafer fabrication equipment (WFE) segment in recent years. WFE is projected to increase 119.9% in 2010, followed by 3.9% growth in 2011. Overall utilization rates peaked at 94% in the second quarter of 2010 but will quickly drop back to the 90% range as more capacity comes online, and semiconductor production slows and becomes more aligned with end-user demand.

The packaging and assembly equipment (PAE) segment will increase more than 123% in 2010. The PAE market is expected to continue to grow through 2012, though at a modest single-digit rate. The decline expected for 2013 is based on a more-traditional oversupply condition, particularly in the memory sector of the device market, and it also reflects a substantial slowdown in the copper bonding build-out.

The worldwide automated test equipment (ATE) market will grow 144% in 2010. Solid growth has occurred through the first half of this year, but this segment is expected to realize seasonal declines late this year and in early 2011. Gartner's 2010 and 2011 growth expectations are driven heavily by the transition to DDR3 memory test processes. For 2010, all ATE segments will realize revenue growth of more than 110%.

"2010 will likely be the strongest year ever for the semiconductor equipment industry, which will be a nice rebound from the worst year ever," Mr. Rinnen said. "Growth will continue through 2012 as companies move from technology buys to capacity purchases."


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