Five stars: Assembly firms pack best chip tool rankings

December 3, 2010 – Eleven semiconductor equipment manufacturers earned VLSI Research’s five-star rating this year, earning top marks in various metrics adding up to "exceptional customer satisfaction," the analyst firm reports.

First-glance takeaways from the list:

  • Varian Semi is once again on the list, six years in a row now — since it started in 2005.
  • New entrants on the list: BE Semi and Hitachi High-Tech (fka Renesas Eastern Japan Semiconductor). Both are assembly firms, making 4 assembly firms out of 11 five-star earners.
  • Those who fell off the list from 2009: ASML, Hanmi, Nissin, and Rite Track.
  • Verigy is the only test equipment supplier to earn consecutive five-star awards.

The five-star metrics aim to identify companies offering both superior performance in both their equipment and organization. Categories include cost-of-ownership, quality of results, product performance, customer service, technical leadership, and commitment. Data were normalized to fit a five-star rating system, based on thirteen categories (see table below and this link for more on those categories and the survey metrics). The 15th largest chip toolmakers were grouped together, with a 20th-percentile cutoff for a five-star rating; All other companies (smaller than those 15) were grouped with a cutoff point of 23rd percentile. Basically the rankings indicate, on average, how a supplier stands out vs. other companies in the industry.


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