Watch Out For 200mm Fabs: Fab Outlook To 2020

Don’t dismiss 200mm as outdated or “old technology.” This mighty wafer size is making a remarkable comeback.

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One year after the debut of the industry’s first 200mm Fab Outlook report, SEMI has just issued an October 2016 update with the improved and expanded report forecasting 200mm fab trends out to 2020.

This extensive report features trends from 2009 to 2020, showing how 200mm fab activities and capacity change worldwide.  Industry spending for construction and equipment is detailed and analyzed by SEMI’s Industry Research and Statistic group.

Since the release of the first-of-its-kind 200mm report in October 2015, SEMI’s team has engaged with many key players and stakeholders across the global semiconductor industry. Strengthening communication lines and gathering more data directly from fab managers and other key contacts at IDMs and foundries, SEMI’s analysts updated information on almost 200 facilities, including new facilities and closures of existing facilities.

Examining 200mm capacity over the years, the highest level of 200mm capacity was recorded in 2007 and the lowest following this peak in 2009 (See figure 1). The capacity decline from 2007 to 2009 is driven by the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, which caused the closure of many facilities, and to the transition of memory and MPU fabrication to 300mm fabs from 200mm.

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Since 2009, installed 200mm fab capacity has increased, and by 2020, 200mm capacity is expected to reach 5.5 million wafers per month (wpm), though still less than the 2007 peak.  According to SEMI’s data, by 2019, installed capacity will reach close to 5.38 million wpm, almost as high as capacity in 2006.

From 2015 to 2020, 200mm facilities are forecast to add 618,000 wpm net capacity. This increase is a combination of fabs adding capacity and fabs losing capacity.  72 fabs/lines are adding over 888,000 wpm (excluding EPI, LED, R&Ds). At the same time, 17 facilities contribute to capacity loss with 270,000 wafers per month as some capacity losses are observed for fab closures or fab lines change wafer size or product types.

Two applications account for the growing demand for 200mm: mobile devices and IoT.  The main product types with rising fab capacity from 2015 to 2020 will be MEMS devices, Power, Foundry and Analog.  By region, greatest increases in capacity will be seen in China, SE Asia, Americas, and Taiwan.

Another trend is also observed: 200mm fabs are increasing the capacity to provide process capability below 120nm.

Higher capacity does not mean more fabs, but fewer, larger fabs. In fact, the number of fabs in 2020 is almost the same as the count seen in 2009.  So 2020 capacity heads toward industry highs while in comparison 2009 had the lowest levels off the 2007 peak.

Between 2015 to 2020, SEMI reports that 27 new 200mm fabs/lines will start operations; in the same time frame, only 9 facilities are currently projected to close.

The question remains: with all this new capacity planned, will there be enough equipment out there in time to meet projected demand?  Refurbished equipment is already reportedly in short supply, so new equipment will be needed, shifting spending once again.  SEMI’s 200mm Fab Outlook provides the details behind 200mm fab spending trends.

The Global 200mm Fab Outlook to 2020, published by SEMI in October 2016, is an update of a report published one year ago (October 2015). The report comes with two files: one 92-page pdf file featuring trend charts, tables and summaries and a Excel file covering 2009 to 2020 detailing on quarterly basis and fab-by-fab developments.