CMP consumables surging on equipment slumps, says analyst

May 10, 2006 – Requirements for 130nm and 90nm copper interconnects is driving demand for consumables used in chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) processes, even as sales of CMP equipment have slumped, according to a new report from The Information Network.

Semiconductor frontend equipment sales sunk nearly 10% in 2005 following a 93% surge in 2004, which generated excess capacity buildup, noted Dr. Robert Castellano, president of the New Tripoli, PA-based analyst firm. However, slurry revenues rose 12% during the year, and sales of pads rose slightly more than 10%.

According to the firm’s data, Applied Materials dominated the CMP polisher market in 2005 with 70% share. In the CMP slurry sector, Cabot Microelectronics led with 44% share, while Rohm and Haas dwarfed the competition in the pad sector with nearly 92% share.

“The benefits of copper interconnect technology has placed a huge demand of production-worthy tools and slurries for 130nm and 90nm processing,” Castellano noted. “Applied, Cabot, and Rohm and Haas have spent considerable effort in tweaking their products to meet these demands, and that effort has paid off.” He added that the trio’s gains are particularly impressive considering that they are US-based companies, while equipment purchases and IC production has largely shifted to Asia.


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