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Wafer Size to Dominated by 300mm and to Continue Increasing Through 2020

By Korbin Lan
Published: Oct 07,2016

According to IC Insights’ Global Wafer Capacity 2016-2020 report that worldwide capacity by wafer size was dominated by 300mm wafers in 2015 and is forecast to continue increasing through 2020, the ambitious goals to put 450mm wafers to use have been scaled back due to enormous financial and technology hurdles.

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IC Insights noted that 300mm wafers represented 63.1% of worldwide capacity at the end of 2015 and are forecast to increase to about 68% by the end of 2020. The share of the industry’s monthly wafer capacity represented by 200mm wafers is expected to drop from 28.3% in 2015 to 25.3% in 2020. But, 200mm wafer capacity is predicted to increase every year over the next several years.

The number of 300mm wafer fabrication facilities in operation is forecast to keep increasing through 2020. For the most part, 300mm fabs are, and will continue to be, limited to production of high-volume, commodity-type devices like DRAMs and flash memories; image sensors and power management devices; and complex logic and microcomponent ICs with large die sizes; and by foundries, which can fill a 300mm fab by combining wafer orders from many sources.

In addition, at the end of 2015, there were 95 production-class IC fabs utilizing 300mm wafers (there are numerous R&D IC fabs and a few high-volume fabs around the globe that make “non-IC” products using 300mm wafers, but these are not included in the count).

By the end of 2020 there are expected to be 22 more fabs in operation, bringing the total number of 300mm fabs used for IC fabrication to 117. The peak number of 300mm fabs may be somewhere around 125. For comparison, the most volume-production 200mm wafer fabs in operation was 210 (in December 2015 there were 148).

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