LONDON — Dutch semiconductor equipment vendor  ASML said Wednesday it is on track to ship 20 extreme ultraviolet (EUV) systems in 2018 and expects to ship at least 30 more in 2019.

The company's estimates came as part of ASML's second quarter financial report, which included better-than-expected sales of EUV tools and overall sales of about $3.2 billion. "Gross margin was slightly above our guidance, reflecting the strength of our DUV and applications business and progress in EUV profitability," said ASML CEO Peter Wennink.

Peter Wennink
Peter Wennink

ASML shipped four EUV systems in the second quarter, one more than forecast, as logic customers prepare to ramp next-generation devices starting later this year, Wennink said.

EUV — the successor to the workhorse deep ultraviolet (DUV) technology in advanced semiconductor manufacturing — is finally on the cusp of production after years of delays. Leading-edge semiconductor manufacturers include Samsung, Intel and TSMC are planning to use EUV in volume production beginning in the next year, though concerns remain about the availability of the EUV power source and other items in the EUV supply chain, including pellicles.

ASML says it has now demonstrated four-week availability of well above 85% on a number of its new NXE:3400B EUV systems and is executing several programs to improve consistent availability to over 90% in 2019.

Wennink said ASML's deep-ultraviolet lithography business continues to thrive, driven largely by the memory market, which  continues to require a significant number of lithography systems at least throughout this year and into 2019. After an excellent first half of 2018, we expect the second half.

"After an excellent first half of 2018, we expect the second half to be stronger, with improved profitability and continued growth from Q3 to Q4,” Wennink said.

For the third quarter,  ASML said it expects sales of between 2.7 billion and 2.8 billion euro (roughly $3.15 billion to $3.26 billion).

— Nitin Dahad is a European correspondent for EE Times.