Europe on the upswing

Michael Levans

MUNICH, GERMANY-The decidedly upbeat tone of SEMICON Europa 2000, the recently concluded European trade fair and technical conference sponsored by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) (Mountain View, CA), should bode well for the European cleanrooms construction and equipment market over the next two years.

According to SEMI's at-show figures, the organization saw the number of stands hit 2,112, up from 1,850 in 1999, featuring 1,174 exhibitors. The organization reports that pre-registration was 6,517, an increase of 1,817 from last year. Although final attendance figures where not available at press time, SEMI projected that attendance numbers would top off over 10,000.

Considering the recent upswing in the global semiconductor market, it's little wonder that SEMI saw a rekindled enthusiasm at this show, which was held at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre for the second straight year.

According to a recent report issued by Dataquest Inc., worldwide semiconductor revenues reached a record level of US$168.6 billion in 1999, up 22 percent from 1998's total. Dataquest reports that Europe accounted for 20 percent of 1999 revenues.

“Interest in SEMICON Europa 2000 is fueled by anticipation of a multi-year expansion cycle, the need for new manufacturing technology and strong regional spending plans for chip-making equipment and materials,” says Walter Roessger, vice president of SEMI Europe.

The mood at Semicon Europa was decidedly upbeat. Photo courtesy of SEMI.
Click here to enlarge image

SEMI's new research supports Roessger's claim. According to the SEMI Market Statistics Program, the semiconductor market should see double-digit growth from 2001-2002, with materials markets growing in the range of 5 to 15 percent. Currently driven by smart cards, telecom and automotive segments, the market will see an increased need for chips in servers, access systems and networking equipment as interest in Internet and e-commerce continues, SEMI says.

“We're seeing many cleanroom projects that were cancelled coming back on line, especially in the U.K., France and Germany,” says Arnold Steinman, chief technology officer at Ion Systems (Berkeley, CA), a developer of electrostatic management systems for cleanrooms. “There are probably two- to three-times more cleanroom projects starting up this year than last. So yes, the upswing certainly does bode well,” he says.


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