Growth forecast for flip-chip packaging gear
Robert Castellano, president of the Information Network, said in a statement that his firm’s leading indicators point to a downturn in semiconductor equipment sales for the second half of 2011 through 2012. Castellano maintains that this view was corroborated by the recent release of a mid-year consensus forecast by the fab tool vendor trade group SEMI.
But while most sectors of the semiconductor equipment industry are in for a slowdown, those that support flip-chip packaging will continue to show robust sales, according to Castellano. Total sales of devices with flip-chip packages represented 11 percent of worldwide IC production in 2010, but will grow to more than 18 in 2015, according to Castellano.
The Information network projects that cumulative market for front-end equipment—tools used before the flip-chip packaging steps—will exhibit a 4 percent CAGR between 2010 and 2013. But sputtering and copper electrodeposition—main sectors of the flip-chip equipment market—are ticketed for a CAGR of 17 percent over the same period, according to Castellano.
Castellano noted that several semiconductor capital equipment heavyweights—including Applied Materials Inc. and Lam Research Corp.—have made strategic investments in developing equipment for flip-chip packaging. Applied purchased Semitool Inc. in 2009, following Lam’s acquisition of SEZ Group in 2008, he noted. Lesser known Ultratech Inc. is also a leading supplier of lithography equipment for flip chip technology, Castellano noted.