Minienvironments: Changes in end-user industries altering cleanroom footprint

Frost & Sullivan: US Cleanrooms Market Report

Caryn Sykes

SAN JOSE, CA—The demand for higher levels of contamination control by the semiconductor industry has driven growth of new fab construction, especially ISO Class 3 (Class 1), over the past few years. Although this trend is expected to continue over the short term, new trends such as minienvironments and modular cleanrooms are expected to curtail this growth over the long term.

The recovery from the Asian crisis, compounded by demand for semiconductor chips due to increased demand for wireless technologies and Internet applications, has driven growth of the semiconductor market, and thus construction of new fabrications.

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As geometries have been shrinking in the semiconductor market and products are more sensitive to outside contaminates, demand for higher levels of contamination control and higher-class cleanrooms has been increasing. As shown in Charts 1 and 2, the overall proportion of ISO Class 3 (Class 1) cleanroom space has increased since 1996 in the semiconductor industry, while the amount of ISO Class 4 (Class 10) space has decreased.

Although the demand for controlled environments is expanding, increased use of minienvironments is expected to curtail the growth of ballroom type fabs after 2001. At that time, the minienvironment market is expected to see an increase in demand from the semiconductor industry due to the desire by end-users to control contamination in the 300-mm production process, while at the same time trying to control costs. Minienvironments allow more control over not only particle contamination and costs, but other factors as well, such as temperature and humidity.

Ballroom-type cleanroom fabrications are expected to continue to grow for the next one to two years. However, increasing movement of production overseas and increased use of minienvironments is expected to decrease construction of new fabs after that time.

However, many segments of the overall contamination control industry are expected to continue to enjoy growth as the semiconductor increasingly incorporates minienvironments into its contamination control plans, and the bio-clean and new end-user industries continue to drive demand of lower level modular cleanrooms.

Editor’s note: In order to offer participants in the contamination control industry an accurate view of the U.S. Cleanrooms market, Frost & Sullivan, a global market research and consulting company, in conjunction with CleanRooms magazine, has completed its market research project entitled “The U.S. Market for Cleanrooms Products.” Copies of the report are now available. Please contact 603-891-0123 to reserve your copy.


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