Lam to acquire CMP supplier OnTrak

Lam to acquire CMP supplier OnTrak

By Susan English-Seaton

Semiconductor manufacturig

Fremont, CA — The acquisition of OnTrak Systems Inc. (San Jose, CA) by Lam Research Corp. (Fremont, CA) puts Lam on firm ground as a major player in the chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) market. Lam, a leader in the manufacture of semiconductor etch and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) equipment, and OnTrak, a supplier of CMP cleaning systems used to fabricate semiconductor devices, announced the $225 million agreement last month under which Lam will acquire OnTrak. Completion of the transaction is anticipated by mid-year.

OnTrak`s combination with Lam is expected to produce several benefits, claims OnTrak`s chairman and CEO, James W. Bagley, who will become Lam`s new CEO. “For example, Lam`s global infrastructure of more than forty regional sales, service and technical support offices will allow us to accelerate our combined introduction to customers of complementary etch, CVD and CMP process solutions. And Lam`s standard-setting research organization offers significant leverage to OnTrak`s ongoing product development programs.”

The combination of Lam and OnTrak is also expected to establish Lam as a major participant in the CMP market, projected to grow at a 31 percent compound annual growth rate through 2001, and according to Dataquest, the most rapidly growing segment of the $21 billion global semiconductor equipment industry. A $6 billion combined market, etch and CVD is expected to grow at an annual rate of about 13 percent over the next five years.

OnTrak Systems is the leading supplier of CMP equipment used to clean silicon wafers that yield up to several hundred advanced semiconductor devices each. The company currently is introducing a next-generation proprietary CMP polishing system that features a linear technology for achieving increased local and global planarity (flatness across each chip die and the entire wafer surface) on the wafer. Called the “Aurora,” the product will integrate OnTrak`s DSS cleaning technology to produce the first such “truly integrated” tool, according to Michael Martinez, OnTrak`s corporate marketing manager.

“There are what I call `phases of cleaning/polishing integration.` There`s the standalone version, the way CMP is now, where you have a cleaner and a polisher independent of each other. The first phase of integration is what I call `mechanical integration,` in which you take two existing standalone products and create a mechanical interface between them. Then there`s the Aurora, which is designed from the inside out, and that`s where we are now.” Scheduled to hit the market at the end of the year, the Aurora will incorporate a special “clean” area within the tool — as yet unclassified, but possibly Class 10 — indicates Martinez, to house the cleaning portion of the process separately from the polishing area.

OnTrak is the industry leader in the cleaning segment of CMP, with more than 60 percent global market share.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.