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SMT & Inspection | October 19, 2006

Semi equipment growth to flatten in 2007

According to The Information Network the manufacturing equipment market for semiconductors is expected to flatten in 2007.
According to New Tripoli, Pa.-based market research firm The Information Network the lithography and dielectric dry etch sectors will exhibit nearly double digit growth in the front-end equipment market that is projected to grow 17.5 percent this year but remain flat in 2007 in an otherwise flat year. "We see nothing on the horizon that will change our analysis. Enormous quantities of manufacturing equipment ordered over the last several months are now being installed, and have begun affecting semiconductor inventory levels", Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network said in a statement. "In addition, the rate of growth for new orders has slowed dramatically and we believe some of the existing orders will be pushed out or canceled altogether," he noted. Remarkable is that while the overall lithography market will grow more than 8 percent in 2007, from a 30.2 percent growth forecast for this year, the market for 193nm immersion (wet) tools will double from $600 million this year to $1.2 million in 2007, the firm believes. "The conversion to copper damascene by DRAM and Flash manufacturers will be key to the growth of the copper market and hence the Dielectric Etch sector," Castellano added. "We expect these manufacturers to start significantly increasing the use of copper interconnects in 2007. Already NOR Flash manufacturers have started the migration, and several NAND Flash manufacturers will start using copper in 2007. While Micron Technology has converted to copper interconnects, other DRAM manufacturers will start migrating to copper in late 2007 or early 2008," he concluded.
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