Equipment Sales Were Mixed Bag In 2015

Some regions grew, others shrank. Strongest showing in logic, image sensors and memory.

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Semiconductor equipment billings were up in Q3 of 2015, the most recent statistics available from SEMI, compared with Q3 of 2014. The strongest growth was reported in China, which grew 63%, and Taiwan, which was up 22%. Billings in North America were down 23%, while in Korea they were down 22%. Europe was down 36%.

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Japan was up 2%, which is consistent with the growth seen in recent EDA Consortium numbers. Semiconductor activity is up across the board in Japan, following a multi-year downturn in that country.

SEMI said overall equipment spending declined in the second half of 2015 as some industry segments weakened. Spending for logic, including CMOS image sensors, and memory were up, but spending for all other segments were down. The organization predicts an uptick in equipment spending in 2016 for 3D NAND, foundries, MPU, power and MEMS. It also said that worldwide installed capacity increased 2% in 2015, with an expected 1% increase in 2016.

SEMI also noted that 200mm wafer capacity is growing, up 0.5% in 2015 compared with 4.3% growth in 300mm wafer capacity in 2015. But those growth rates are expected to reverse in 2016, with 200mm capacity growing 2.1% compared with 2.0% growth for 300mm capacity.

The group noted that 13 new projects began construction in 2015, with 14 new projects expected in 2016.

Silicon shipments were down slightly in Q3 of last year to 2,591 million square inches, compared with 2,597 million square inches for Q3 2014.

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