By Paula Doe
WaferNews Contributing Editor
Nikon now says it expects to sell 160 steppers in the six months of April through September, and estimates it will move only 90 units in the six months from October through March 2001. That’s down about 30% from the 350 it projected in May. The company also says it now expects to just break even on total sales of $3.8 billion for the current fiscal year, a 10% reduction from earlier projections.
Nikon also says the research consortium Selete has ordered a Nikon e-beam stepper to evaluate in parallel with F2 excimer laser tools. It plans to deliver the tool in 2003. Nikkei Microdevices’ website notes that since Nikon has the only e-beam system around, it was a foregone conclusion that Selete would evaluate and develop the tool, but Nikon’s announcement is intended to show how far along its tool is and drum up support for its approach. Users see the e-beam tool as most useful for low volume production of devices like system chips. Nikon says it aims to ship production systems from 2004 with target throughput of 30 to 40 wafers/hour at 70nm, extendable to 35nm.
To manufacture fewer steppers in the second fiscal half, Nikon will trim 500 contract workers, reducing its total from 1500 to 1000.