Nineteen new fabs to start construction in 2016 and 2017

Equipment spending will rise by 1.5% in 2016 and 13% in 2017, forecasts SEMI report

Nineteen new fabs and lines will begin construction in 2016 and 2017, according to the latest update of SEMI’s World Fab Forecast report.

SEMI, the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chain for the micro- and nano-electronics industries, also reports that fab equipment spending had a sluggish start at the beginning of the year but is gaining momentum for a projected 1.5% year-on-year growth by the end of 2016, followed by a projected 13% growth in 2017. Fab equipment spending, including new, secondary and in-house, fell by 2% in 2015.

Activity in the 3D NAND, 10nm Logic, and Foundry segments is expected to push equipment spending up to US$36bn in 2016, 1.5% over 2015, and to $40.7bn in 2017, up 13%, the report reveals. Equipment is expected to be installed in existing fabs and lines that are being converted to leading-edge technology and also into new fabs and lines that began construction in the previous year.

Breaking down the 19 projects by wafer size, 12 of the fabs and lines are for 300mm (12in), four for 200mm, and three are LED fabs (one each for 150mm, 100mm, and 50mm). Not including LEDs, the potential installed capacity of all these fabs and lines is estimated at almost 210,000 wafer starts per month (in 300mm equivalents) for fabs starting construction this year and 330,000 wafer starts per month (in 300mm equivalents) for fabs beginning construction in 2017.

In addition to announced and planned new fabs and lines, SEMI’s World Fab Forecast provides information about existing fabs and lines with associated construction spending, e.g. when a cleanroom is converted to a larger wafer size or a different product type.

Looking at fab construction projects by wafer size reveals which product segments are responsible for this growth. Over both years, 100mm and 50mm projects are all for LED production. 150mm wafer projects will supply Analog, Foundry, MEMS, and LED needs. For 200mm wafers, in 2016, Analog and Power dominate, while in 2017, Power takes the lead. 300mm wafers are mainly for Memory and Foundry, with some Analog, Logic (MPU), and Power.

In addition, the transition to leading-edge technologies has created a reduction in installed capacity within existing fabs, the report finds. To compensate for this, more conversion of older fabs may take place but also more new fabs and lines may begin construction.