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Report says EC should invest in 450mm shared fab

Malcolm Penn, Future Horizons

A report into 450mm manufacturing commissioned by the EC concludes that Europe will not secure its long term position in advanced semiconductor manufacturing without defining and implementing a coordinated 450mm strategy. The report believes that a 450mm shared fab is the best solution, but says this would require the EC to invest up to $3billion.

The report, produced by Future Horizons and French company Decision, examined what role the EC should play in the development of 450mm manufacturing. Taking 14months to compile, the report involved face to face interviews with senior industry executives to identify the activities required to support research and innovation in advanced semiconductor production, as well as the measures needed to attract investments into Europe.
Malcolm Penn, pictured, chairman of Future Horizons, said: "The 450mm transition is necessary for the industry to keep up with the underlying 10% annual growth in wafer fab capacity demand. The wafers are 2.25 times larger in surface area, making it more efficient to build a single 450mm fab rather than two 300mm fabs The 450mm transition is also expected to deliver a 30% cost reduction, thus providing 450mm wafer fabs with a definite competitive advantage over 300mm."
One of the report's conclusions is that 450mm manufacturing will define the geographical locations of the next (and perhaps final) 10 to 15 most advanced semiconductor production areas worldwide.
Since the report was commissioned, the industry has committed to 450mm manufacturing with the establishment of the G450 Consortium.
Penn added: "Even though reluctant and hesitant at first, the equipment and material industry is now asking to be fully associated with the transition to 450mm."
Run properly, the report says, a 450mm shared fab would not only allow Europe to leapfrog to the forefront of chip manufacturing technology, it would also offer greater security of supply, lower cost [and] 'a vital home base' for Europe's equipment and materials industry and advanced research centres. It will be, the report concludes, a real 'win-win' scenario.
The report can be downloaded by following the link below.

Graham Pitcher

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