Nineteen new fabs and lines are forecast to begin construction in 2016 and 2017, according to SEMI. Although fab equipment spending was down two percent in 2015, SEMI expects fab spending to grow by 1.5 percent in 2016, followed by an increase of 13 percent in 2017.
Activity in the 3D NAND, 10-nm logic, and foundry segments is expected to fuel equipment spending to $36 billion in 2016 and $40.7 billion in 2017, according to the SEMI World Fab Forecast. Spending will be across the board for equipment in existing fabs, lines that are being converted to leading-edge technology, and new fabs and lines that began construction in the prior year.
The construction of new fabs and lines in 2016 and 2017 will be led by China, which is forecast to begin construction on 10 new foundries and lines over the next two years. One new foundry and one analog line is expected to start in the Americas. Taiwan also is forecast to build one new foundry in 2016 and a 50-mm LED line in 2016.
SEMI segments the 19 projects by wafer size: 12 fabs and lines are for 300 mm, four for 200 mm, and three LED fabs (150 mm, 100 mm and 50 mm). Excluding LEDs, SEMI estimates the potential installed capacity for all these fabs and lines at nearly 210,000 wafer starts per month (in 300-mm equivalents) for fabs beginning construction in 2016 and 330,000 wafer starts per month (in 300-mm equivalents) for fabs beginning construction in 2017.
“These projects have a probability of 60 percent or higher,” according to SEMI. “While some projects are already underway, others may be subject to delays or pushed into the following year.”
The number of 300-mm wafer fabrication facilities in operation is expected to reach 100 in 2016, according to IC Insights. The market researcher reports 95 production-class IC fabs using 300-mm wafers (excluding R&D IC fabs and “non-IC” products such as CMOS image sensors) at the end of 2015 with eight scheduled to open in 2017. The number of 300-mm fabs in operation will reach 117 by the end of 2020, according to IC Insights.
One key trend cited by SEMI is the potential for more conversions of older fabs, and construction of additional new fabs and lines. This is to compensate for a reduction in installed capacity within an existing fab during the transition to leading-edge technologies, the industry organization said.
SEMI recently reported that billings for global semiconductor manufacturing equipment reached $8.3 billion in the first quarter of 2016, which is three percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015 and 13 percent lower than the same quarter in 2015. In comparison, bookings for global semiconductor equipment reached $9.4 billion in the first quarter of 2016, which is five percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015, and two percent lower than the same quarter in 2015
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