Within the semiconductor capital equipment market we operate in the semiconductor wafer processing equipment market segment, primarily for deposition equipment.
In 2018, the semiconductor industry was driven by a US$2.2 trillion global electronics industry (VLSI Research Chip Insider, February 11, 2019) that required approximately US$409 billion of semiconductors, which was up by around 15% compared to 2017, driven mostly by higher prices in memory devices. In turn, the semiconductor industry supported approximately US$80 billion semiconductor capital equipment industry (up around 14% compared to 2017), which supplies the required production systems and services. The equipment segment was driven mostly by capacity expansion in 3D-NAND memory fabs, technology conversion investments in DRAM memory fabs, and new technology generation investments in logic and foundry fabs.
Our products include wafer processing deposition systems for CVD, ALD, epitaxy, and diffusion/furnace. We make two types of process tools: single-wafer and batch. The majority of our business comes from single-wafer tools, which are designed to process an individual wafer in each processing chamber on the tool.
In contrast, a batch tool is designed such that a large number of wafers are processed simultaneously in a larger processing chamber. Batch tools typically achieve a higher throughput compared to single wafer tools.
Single-wafer tools typically achieve a higher level of process performance and control, especially for complex, critical applications. We work closely with our customers to meet their demands, and in recent years we have developed single wafer tools with multiple chambers configured together in a compact way on a single platform. This approach offers the best of both worlds, combining high productivity and a high level of performance.
Our XP platform is a high-productivity, common 300mm single-wafer platform that can be configured with up to four process modules. The XP platform enables high-volume multi-chamber parallel processing or integration of sequential process steps on one platform. The XP common platform benefits our customers through reduced operating costs, as many of our products use the same parts and consumables, and a common control architecture improves ease of use.
Our XP8 platform follows the basic architectural standards of the XP, but provides even higher productivity with up to eight chambers integrated on a single-wafer platform with a small footprint.
We are a leading supplier of ALD equipment and process solutions for the semiconductor industry. Today, our ALD process technology delivers the highest performance available to support the next generation of semiconductor devices. Our epitaxy products have also demonstrated solutions for our customers to achieve transistor channel performance at the most advanced technology nodes.
ALD allows us to deposit thin films atom-by-atom on silicon wafers, meaning we can deliver atomic-scale thickness control, high-quality deposition film properties, and large area uniformity.
With such precision, we can use materials that previously could not be considered, and develop 3D structures that are vital to the future of electronics. 3D technology provides a number of real benefits, including saving space while delivering chips with higher performance that consume less power.
Our ALD technology is being used to build ICs for a wide range of leading-edge products, including high-performance computers and smartphones. The results of ALD are visible everywhere in the world around us.
ALD is also our basic platform for the development of a wide range of new materials. Our research centers across the globe are working on ALD, and we are conducting joint research projects with Europe’s largest independent research institute, imec. Taken together, this helps make ALD one of the principal drivers for future growth in microelectronics.
Using ALD, we can deposit new materials several atoms thick on semiconductor wafers, producing ultra-thin films of exceptional quality and uniformity.
In PEALD, plasma is used to provide the reaction energy for the process, enabling us to use lower temperatures for low-thermal budget applications. This technology was introduced in DRAM and planar NAND flash manufacturing, for spacer-defined double patterning (SDDP), a technique that can reduce device dimensions, postponing the need for new lithography technologies.
Using ALD technology, we can scale devices to smaller dimensions while reducing the power consumption of transistors, all of which helps the industry follow Moore’s Law and create smaller, more powerful semiconductors. For advanced 3D memory applications, where devices are stacked vertically in high densities, ALD is critical for uniformly depositing films in deep trenches and over complicated features. Many new applications are emerging where ALD is the technology of choice, and in a number of cases the only solution that meets the challenging technology requirements.
We expect ALD to be one of the principal drivers of growth in microelectronics over the coming decade. In addition, we expect growth in other deposition technologies, including epitaxy for advanced transistors and PECVD for creating improved interconnects. Looking ahead, we will continue to develop the huge potential of our deposition technologies in support of the semiconductor industry, enabling the industry to support the future demands of consumers and businesses.
Epitaxy is a critical process technology for creating advanced transistors and memories. The epitaxy process is used for depositing precisely controlled crystalline silicon-based layers that are important for semiconductor device electrical properties. In some cases, the epitaxy films incorporate dopant atoms to achieve specific material properties.
Epitaxy process temperature control is of the utmost importance. We have developed new methods of temperature control in our Intrepid ES epitaxy tool that enable improved film performance and repeatability in volume production. Furthermore, Intrepid’s closed-loop reactor temperature control enables enhanced stability in production.
Focusing on product stewardship and product life cycle (PLC) management involves taking responsibility to reduce the product’s environmental impact along its entire life cycle, so from cradle-to-grave. Ultimately, this approach enables us to make products more efficiently and productively for our customers, while extending the products' useful life.
Our product life cycle process follows the well-established construct of phase-gate product development guided by several key inputs:
Product-specific requirements realized from these inputs are documented in market requirement specifications (MRS), which are held as the objectives we need to meet through the product development process. The MRS are updated continually to capture changes to market conditions, regulations and standards, and related specifications.
Governance is provided through key technical meetings (architecture reviews, design reviews and validation reviews) and phase exit meetings through the various life cycle stages of the product.
Product safety is a core element of ASMI’s innovation process, and it is realized through the design, manufacturing, and ongoing support of our products. The requirements are defined and championed by the Product Safety Council which includes engineers representing each of our design centers. These requirements are established in the PLC during the requirements phase, and include legislation and standards from the semiconductor industry and customers. We verify that safety requirements are met during the concept and design phase as part of safety risk assessments, and through independent third-party validations during the product validation phase. In addition, we integrate the identification of opportunities for safety design improvements into our global safety reporting system. This system enables our engineers and technicians who work with our equipment on a daily basis to report incidents, areas of concern, or opportunities for improvement. Corrective actions and lessons learned are captured, providing an invaluable link between the end user and the design process.
Our stakeholders working with our equipment rely on this process of continual assessment, integration, and improvement, to make sure they can safely work with our products.
Over the past 50 years we have grown to become a leading global supplier
of semiconductor wafer processing equipment. A company that develops
innovative process solutions for our customers, and manages itself in the best
interests of our investors, our employees, society, and other stakeholders.
Yet now is the time to enter a new era of innovation, to embark on the next
phase of growth. We understand that this requires commitment and strength
across many areas. From innovation in R&D, to advancing new technologies
and addressing new applications. From developing our people, to creating
even stronger relationships with key customers.
This is how we will take the next leap forward.
ROADMAP TO THE FUTURE
Our roadmap to the future will enable us to not only
achieve our next phase of growth, it will ensure we
can continue to help our customers achieve their
technology roadmaps for next-generation devices.
Our technology helps drive innovation, increasing the number of scientific breakthroughs, many of which are achieved from our advanced process equipment that deposits new materials with precision and productivity, positively benefiting society in sectors from healthcare and education, to transport and energy.
For semiconductor manufacturers, scaling chips
to smaller dimensions is an ongoing challenge.
Our innovations and equipment are vital in helping make many of these transitions happen.
Striving for efﬁciency ensures that our
customers get the products, services,
and results they expect. Intensifying
our focus on efﬁciency will make us a
stronger company, ready to take the
next leap forward.
We are a multinational company that
embraces diversity in every sense
of the word. With 29 different
nationalities working across the
company, we combine our talents
to drive innovation.
Achieving our ambitions takes intelligence, knowledge, skill,
determination, and dedication. And it is this combination of
qualities that we nurture in our people.
Our goal is to impact tomorrow’s generation
as positively as we’ve impacted today’s.
Making this happen takes the xtraordinary
talent of our people, who work together
to drive innovation and deliver excellence.
Collaboration is fundamental to our
continued success; from working
with our customers to optimize our
equipment and processes to enable
their technology roadmaps, to
creating partnerships on cutting-edge
research and development.
Operational excellence is one of the essential
pillars of our strategy, which enables us to provide
our customers with the high-quality, leading-edge
products and services they demand.
R&D is central to our development,
leading to new device architectures,
new materials, and new processes
that strengthen our competitive
positioning and enable our customers
to deliver the next-generation chips.
By extending our technological scope with a
more diverse product portfolio, we can help our
customers continue to advance their business
while growing our own in new market segments.
We create long-term value for our
stakeholders in a variety of ways.
From working with our customers
to develop innovative solutions, to
ensuring value creation growth
and positive investor returns.
We are committed to positively
contributing to society and
reducing our impact on the
environment. Only then can
we truly say we are helping
create more with less.
We believe sustainability takes many forms.
From developing sustainable technology
roadmaps for our customers, to creating
a sustainable living environment for all.
Safety is a front-line requirement,
which is why our ZERO HARM!
policy outlines our vision on product
safety, and our CR policy lays out
our commitment and expectations
towards health and safety.