Customers of both large and small wafer-processing companies gave kudos to a wide range of vendors, but overall rankings were lower than in previous years, according to a new report from VLSI. The ratings are calculated based on customer surveys in which suppliers were ranked on a ten-point scale, covering thirteen categories describing equipment performance and customer service.
For large suppliers (in terms of sales of wafer-processing tools), Varian tops the list with a rating of 8.16, followed by Axcelis Technologies (7.28), ASML (7.24), Dainippon Screen Manufacturing (7.21), and Tokyo Electron (7.17). The average rating for the top ten companies in this segment fell by a quarter point from 2002.
Of the top ten-ranked vendors, three are in microlithography, two in ion implant tools, one in deposition tools, and four offer a broad range of equipment. Four of the top ten are based in North America, four in Japan, and two in Europe.
For small wafer-processing equipment suppliers — defined as those smaller than the largest fifteen in terms of sales — Tegal led the pack with a rating of 8.31, followed by SUSS MicroTec (7.54), Matrix Integrated Systems (7.46), Aixtron (7.29), and SEZ Group (7.14). This segment of wafer-processing vendors suffered a drop of only 0.12 in average ratings from 2002 to 2003.
These vendors also represented a wide range of technologies, including microlithography, etch firms, deposition equipment manufacturers, and two companies that offer both deposition and etch tools. Half of the top ten companies are headquartered in Europe; four are US-based, and one is from Japan.