Monday January 16, 2017

450mm Wafers will not be Seen in Fabs

I was reading this article over at EETimes describing that the evolution of wafer size has come to a standstill if not for the time being, but possibly for a number of years.

Between that and the semiconductor industry's modest growth rate over the past few years, there is no need for a massive expansion of capacity as there has been in the past, Hutcheson added. Without sufficient demand for the larger wafer size, building a 450mm fab would require chip makers to take 300mm fabs offline.

"450 died because it's one generation too far," Hutcheson said.

While reading this, my mind when back to visiting GlobalFoundries before its fabs came online in New York. This video showcases GloFLo's Integrated Testing and Development Center. What this is, is a mock-up of just how its simply moves it wafers around the fab and keeps up with all of those. So if you think changing over wafer size would be minimal undertaking, imagine having to retrofit, or change the "simple" materials handling portion of the equation.