Record growth is forecast to extend into 2022.
Western prowess in electronic design and advanced chip manufacturing tools continue to be key advantages in the scaling race to ever-smaller semiconductor geometries.
Evidence the fact that the EDA sector recorded record first-quarter revenues while the IC manufacturing equipment segment is forecast to top $100 billion in 2022, according to industry estimates.
The chip design sector reported a 17 percent annual revenue increase during the first three months of 2021, topping $3.15 billion. “All product categories significantly contributed,” said Walden Rhines, representing the Electronic System Design Alliance.
Double-digit growth was fueled by strong demand for computer-aided engineering, IC physical design and verification, printed-circuit boards, multichip modules and semiconductor intellectual property, Rhines said. For example, the chip design and verification segment jumped 34.4 percent compared to the same period last year, with revenue totaling $682.5 million.
The ESD Alliance said the Americas region contributed the lion’s share, about 40 percent, of first quart chip design revenues. The Asian-Pacific region accounted for more than $1.16 billion in quarterly revenues. The first quarter of 2021 “marked a new high for quarterly growth of total license and maintenance revenue, as well as IC physical design and verification,” Rhines said.
That momentum carried over to the chip manufacturing equipment sector, with sales jumping 34 percent year-on-year to $95.3 billion. “Continuing investments by device makers in secular growth drivers are fueling expansion of both front-end and back-end semiconductor equipment sectors,” according to the industry group SEMI.
Wafer fab equipment, including wafer processing, mask and reticle equipment, surged 34 percent on an annual basis to a record $81.7 billion. SEMI forecasts the sector will jump an additional 6 percent in 2022 to $86 billion.
Meanwhile, foundry and logic chip investments that reached $45.7 billion this year are predicted to grow by another 8 percent, the industry group projected. Strong demand for memory and storage devices are expected to propel demand for NAND and DRAM manufacturing gear, with NAND flash equipment sustaining this year’s growth (13 percent) to a nearly $19 billion market in 2022.
Growing investments in assembly and packaging equipment reflect emerging heterogeneous device packaging applications. The $6 billion sector is expected to expand another 6 percent in 2022.
Not to be outdone, the test equipment sector is seen benefitting from 5G and high-performance computing deployments, adding another 6 percent of growth in 2022 to the current $7.6 billion test segment.
Korean chip makers are expected to lead the equipment investment binge on the strength of the current memory chip recovery along with new spending on advanced logic production and other foundry expansion to meet skyrocketing global semiconductor demand.
This article was originally published on EE Times.
George Leopold has written about science and technology from Washington, D.C., since 1986. Besides EE Times, Leopold’s work has appeared in The New York Times, New Scientist, and other publications. He resides in Reston, Va.