December 2, 2005 – Total utilization rates for IC production rose slightly to 90.1% in 3Q05, up from 89.1% in 2Q05 and 84.8% in 1Q05, with run rates for leading-edge technologies (<0.12 microns, and 0.12-0.16 microns) pushing to 96%-97% by the end of September, according to data from Semiconductor International Capacity Statistics (SICAS).
More mature technologies also showed strength in 3Q05 — utilization rates for 0.16-0.2 microns and 0.2-0.3 microns process technologies bounced up to 87.2% and 85.3% respectively, after each bottomed out to three-year lows just two quarters ago. Overall IC capacity rose slightly from the prior quarter (3.3%) and from a year ago (8.7%) to 1.58 million wafer starts/week (200mm-equivalent wafers).
Chipmakers increased capacity for 300mm operations by 15% quarter-on-quarter to 259,400 wafer starts/week and bumped up actual usage by 17% to 240,500 wafer starts/week, pushing 300mm utilization rates to 92.7%.
Foundry utilization rates increased to 92.3% in 3Q05, maintaining solid growth from 83.0% in 2Q and 75.2% in 1Q05.
Foundries capacity declined 2.9% sequentially to 245,200 wafer starts/week (up 18.1% year-on-year), while wafer starts increased 8%. — James Montgomery, News Editor