Combined spending on new and refurbished front end fab tools is expected to grow 37 percent this year and obliterate the previous record set in 2011.
SAN FRANCISCO — In what is shaping up to be a banner year for the semiconductor equipment industry in every way measurable, combined spending on new and refurbished fab tools is not expected to shatter a six-year-old record.
Total fab equipment spending is expected to grow 37 percent this year to reach $55 billion, according to the latest forecast from the SEMI trade association. This would obliterate the previous record for combined spending on new and refurbished equipment of $40 billion set in 2011.
SEMI expects fab tool spending to increase by another 5 percent next year to reach $58 billion.
Out of 296 front end fabs and lines tracked by SEMI, 30 are expected to spend more than $500 million on equipment this year, according to the trade association.
Fab tool spending will be highest in both 2017 and 2018 in South Korea, the bulk of which is driven by Samsung, according to the SEMI forecast. SEMI expects South Korean fab tool spending to increase 130 percent this year to reach $19.5 billion.
Samsung is expected to more than double its spending on front end fab tools this year to between $16 billion and $17 billion. SEMI expects Samsung to invest another $15 billion in fab tools next year.
— Dylan McGrath is editor-in-chief of EE Times.