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100 IC Wafer Fabs Closed or Repurposed Since 2009

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Hardest hit are ≤200mm wafer fabs, 70% of closures in Japan and North America.

Over the past decade, the IC industry has been paring down its older capacity as manufacturers have consolidated or transitioned to the fab-lite or fabless business models. In its recently released Global Wafer Capacity 2020-2024 report, IC Insights shows that due to the surge of merger and acquisition activity in the middle of this decade and with more companies producing IC devices using sub-20nm process technology, suppliers have eliminated inefficient wafer fabs. Since 2009, semiconductor manufacturers around the world have closed or repurposed 100 wafer fabs, according to findings in the new report.

Figure 1 shows the number of fabs closed by geographic region while Figure 2 shows a distribution of those fabs by wafer size and year.

100 IC Wafer Fabs Closed or Repurposed Since 2009.png

Figure 1

Japan and North America, have accounted for most of the wafer fab closures since 2009. Many of the shuttered wafer fabs had been used for decades and had outlived their useful purpose. Consequently, these fabs were closed in favor of much more cost-efficient facilities. In some cases, the cost of fab ownership became too great of a burden and several companies opted for the fab-lite or fabless business model that outsources manufacturing to a wafer foundry.

Figure 2

IC Insights has identified four additional wafer fabs—one owned by NJR, two at Renesas, and one operated by Analog Devices—that are slated to close in the 2020-21 timeperiod. Given the skyrocketing cost of new wafer fabs and manufacturing equipment, and as more IC companies transition to a fab-lite or fabless business model, IC Insights anticipates there will be more fab closures in the next few years. Fortunately, much of the “dead wood” (old fabs) has already been cleared out and the global manufacturing capacity that remains is regarded as fairly efficient.

It is worth noting, however, that a wave of fab closures came shortly after the Great Recession of 2007-2008 when companies were closely scrutinizing their operating costs. A decade later and with the Covid-19 virus wreaking havoc on global businesses and greatly impacting the global economy, could another wave of fab closures be in store?

Report Details: Global Wafer Capacity 2020-2024
IC Insights’ Global Wafer Capacity 2020-2024—Detailed Analysis and Forecast of the IC Industry’s Wafer Fab Capacity report assesses the IC industry’s capacity by wafer size, minimum process geometry, technology type, geographic region, and device type through 2024. The report includes detailed profiles of the companies with the greatest fab capacity and gives comprehensive specifications on existing wafer fab facilities. Global Wafer Capacity 2020-2024 is priced at $4,890 for an individual user license. A multi-user worldwide corporate license is available for $7,590.

PDF Version of This Bulletin
A PDF version of this Research Bulletin can be downloaded from our website at http://www.icinsights.com/news/bulletins/
 

dprabhu1

New member
Hello Daniel - Thanks for the analysis. If we look at the market today (ignoring Covid-19 for now), the fastest growing semiconductors segment is the automotives sector for the foreseeable future. There are many reports out on this. Most of the semi products (almost 80%) used in the automotives sector is made on 200mm or smaller wafers. While the numbers are going to move more towards 300mm, most reports show that even for the next 5-10 years, there will be a significant fraction of chips coming from 200mm fabs. These fabs have been fully depreciated and so the operations cost is really low enough where inefficiencies can be managed. Do you think that specific to the automotives segment, the model of migration to 300mm will be lower primarily because most of the products are at older technology nodes than for any of the leading edge memory & logic technologies ? Thanks
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
I agree, automotive is a growth market for semiconductors but I'm concerned about a bubble. If you look at how many car companies we have today versus 10 years ago the number is staggering. I can see it on SemiWiki with the automotive content. We have 500+ automotive blogs that have been viewed 4M+ times by thousands of different domains. Even without COVID-19 there are just too many suppliers.

The other automotive issue I have is the supply chain. Tesla was the first car company to hit SemiWiki. Before then it was Renesas, NXP, STMicro, etc... Today the car companies are on SemiWiki and making their own chips to better compete with Tesla.

Tesla is really FinFET focused so most of their chips are 300mm for sure. TSMC 16nm and 12nm I'm told. The other car companies have no choice but to follow. And the smarter our cars get (AI) the faster and more dense the chips need to be. Sensors are a different story of course.

Hello Daniel - Thanks for the analysis. If we look at the market today (ignoring Covid-19 for now), the fastest growing semiconductors segment is the automotives sector for the foreseeable future. There are many reports out on this. Most of the semi products (almost 80%) used in the automotives sector is made on 200mm or smaller wafers. While the numbers are going to move more towards 300mm, most reports show that even for the next 5-10 years, there will be a significant fraction of chips coming from 200mm fabs. These fabs have been fully depreciated and so the operations cost is really low enough where inefficiencies can be managed. Do you think that specific to the automotives segment, the model of migration to 300mm will be lower primarily because most of the products are at older technology nodes than for any of the leading edge memory & logic technologies ? Thanks
 
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