Effectively managing the upturn

The European semiconductor industry which has weathered the downturn relatively well appears, at last to be showing some signs of a modest recovery. During this period Europe has maintained its presence of three leading manufacturers in the top ten worldwide producers namely ST Microlelectronics, Philips and Infineon. The market decline suffered within the industry over the past 12-18 months which has been one of the deepest and longest in the industries history, was preceded by a period of meteoric growth in 2000. Over the 40 year history of the semiconductor industry each peak and trough in the economic cycle seems to get more pronounced and arrive with increased frequency. This is understandable given the increased rate of product development and adoption, and the reduced life cycle of modern products. The efficient management of the next industry upturn will be the theme of this year's Semiconductor 2002 event, which will take place in Edinburgh on the 24th/25th June at the EICC. The event which is organised by JEMI UK in collaboration with other industry bodies including IOP, JEMI France, SEMI and the NMI is now in its third year and in 2001 was attended by 170 people. Malcolm Penn of Future Horizons is this years key note speaker and will present his upbeat assessment of the prospects for the industry. Will one of the drivers be the adoption of set top boxes, prompted by the move towards digital television for the masses?. At least one European Government (UK) has put forward a proposal for the effective banning of the sale of analog devices to stimulate the move to digital television for all. The recent collapse of ITV digital has bought these ideas under close scrutiny. Matthew Hatch from ST Microelectronics will be discussing the topic of innovation in this area. The topics covered in the one day forum will cover a broad range of subjects from the development of the optical MEMS on single silicon substrates, to the challenges facing the equipment sector as we move to the next stage of the industry roadmap. Stuart McIntosh, President of ASML's lithography division and Executive Vice President of operations will discuss the successful implementation of technology and the challenges facing manufacturers as they strive to strike a balance in the implementation of new technology whilst maintaining an effective ROI. Semiconductor 2002 presents an excellent networking opportunity for those people who are interested in discovering the business drivers which will shape the industry in the next economic cycle. Scottish Enterprise have been very supportive of the development of the event, and its strategic location in Scotland allows visitors to not only sample the delights of the beautiful city of Edinburgh, but also to take advantage of the location of the strong existing Scottish semiconductor related infrastructure. I hope that we will see many of you there in Edinburgh in June.