SAN JOSE, CA — The SEMI World Fab Database shows increasing capital expenditure and growing installed semiconductor manufacturing capacity in 2011. Fab construction spending, however, decelerates this year and in 2012. The database tracks spending, capacity and technology node projects for every fab worldwide by company. Spending covers new and used equipment for production, pilot, and R&D fabs, including investments for LED device fabrication.
“2011 is expected to be a record year for fab equipment spending. Since February, some companies have increased capex guidance and, as a result, fab equipment spending should reach an all-time high of about $44 billion. The spending pace is expected to decline 6% to $41 billion in 2012, yet will remain the second highest annual level on record.” said Christian Gregor Dieseldorff, senior analyst of fab information in the SEMI Industry Research and Statistics group. “However, the number of new volume fabs starting construction is historically low, with potential implications for industry capacity plans in 2012 and beyond.”
The SEMI database indicates that 17 new volume fabs (including 13 LED fabs) have a high probability (>60%) of beginning construction this year. Excluding the LED fabs, SEMI predicts only four volume fabs will begin construction this year and another four in 2012. The SEMI fab database also now identifies candidates for investment in the potential transition to manufacturing on 450 mm wafers. Sometime in 2012, the industry will likely see initial equipment expenditures for 450mm pilot development. Construction of the first 450 mm ready facilities began last year, and more will begin construction this year. Overall fab construction spending slows this year and in 2012.
The earthquake in Japan on March 11 may have some short-term effect on utilization rates and capacity output, but will not have a significant impact on installed capacity. Recent Fab Capacity (without Discretes) growth seems to be leveling off to below 10% growth annually.
Installed capacity is expected increase about 9% in 2011 and 7% in 2011. In 2010, the growth rate in capacity of Foundry fabs surpassed Memory fabs, and this trend is expected to continue in 2011, as Foundry capacity will increase by 13% while Memory capacity will increase by 8%. Growth of LED dedicated fab capacity remains in the double-digits with over 40% estimated in 2011, though lower capacity growth is forecasted in 2012. Memory dominates the worldwide installed fab capacity with a 38% share of the capacity this year, followed by foundries with about a 29% share.