Search This Blog

Monday, April 27, 2009

450 Now, Are You Kidding Me?

The International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI) 450 mm wafer program announced in April equipment performance metrics (EPMs) for nearly 30 tool types. The EPMs were developed from supplier feedback obtained in two 450 mm equipment workshops, and ISMI has said they will be refined further

Beginning later this year, ISMI says the 450 mm program will put together an equipment demonstration line to process 450 mm single-crystal test wafers at 32 nm design rules. ISMI or speculation claims that Intel Corp, Samsung and TSMC will fund the project pilot lines capable of 22 nm processing by 2012.

ISMI reportedly claims that test wafer equipment development and demonstrations are on track starting by the middle of 2009 and that prototype 450 mm equipment is being developed now at various supplier sites. It is also claimed volume production could occur as early as 2014 or 2015.

Out of respect and timing, SEMI is not making public statements about the ISMI announcements, but the idea that they are spending time and money on 450 when the entire industry is suffering historical and unprecedented challenges is beyond me. Both Samsung and TSMC are shedding employees and nearly all the chip makers, as well as the the entire supply chain, are in intensive care. Nobody can afford R&D work on advanced scaling, much less wafer transition. Fab capacity is at historical lows and ISMI is spending money on 450? Are you telling me that ISMI members like Global Foundries, TI, UMC, National, Qimonda, Micron, and Toshiba want to see their precious membership dues being spent on 450? Does ISMI really want to publicly celebrate their efforts in 450 at this particular time, when any membership dues are probably controversial? During these tough times, how can the majority of ISMI members support 450 programs, at the expense of more broadly beneficial initiatives such as equipment productivity, energy conservation, and other areas that are immediately relevant to the industry's bottom line? This has got to seriously rankle a broad swatch of ISMI membership.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Nobody can afford R&D work on advanced scaling, much less wafer transition."

This is the bottom line given the reality of today's economy.