49 semiconductor wafer fabs close 2009-2011

February 15, 2012 — IC manufacturers closed 49 wafer fabs between 2009 and 2011, according to a recent IC Insights’ Global Wafer Capacity 2011-2012 report. Smaller wafer fabs (≤200mm) suffered the most closures, and Japan and North America led the way.

Since mid-2007, the IC industry has been paring down older capacity (i.e., ≤200mm wafers), and this trend began to take hold in 2009. Some of the less-cost-effective small wafer fabs were refurbished to run larger wafers, or to produce non-IC products. This trend away from smaller-diameter wafer fabs will continue in coming years, especially as companies transition to fab-lite or fabless business models.

Most of the 2009-2011 fab closures were 150mm wafer fabs (43%). Fab closures by wafer size: 21 for 150mm, 13 for 200mm, 7 for 125mm, 5 for 300mm, and 3 for 100mm (Figure 1). With Qimonda going out of business in early 2009, its 300mm wafer fabs became the first of their kind to cease commercial operations.

Figure 1. Wafer fab closures 2009-2011, by wafer size. SOURCE: IC Insights.

Regionally, according to the Global Wafer Capacity 2011-2012 report, Japan and North America each saw 17 wafer fabs close, followed by Europe with 12 and South Korea with 3 (Figure 2). One of the wafer fab closures in Japan was a 300mm IC fab operated by Sony, which is being retrofitted and will return to service to produce image sensors for the company. The Qimonda wafer fab in Sandston, Virginia, was the only 300mm wafer fab closed in North American (2009) during this time.

Also read: New installed wafer capacity leader: Taiwan

A total of three 100mm wafer fabs were closed in the three-year span. These included fabs owned by DALSA in Bromont, Ontario, Canada; ON Semiconductor in Piestany, Slovak Republic; and Diodes in Oldham, England.

Figure 2. Wafer fab closures 2009-2011, by region. SOURCE: IC Insights.

IC Insights’ Global Wafer Capacity 2011-12 report features 78 pages and 61 charts/tables of IC wafer capacity analyses and forecasts along with two addendums: a 72-page addendum of 300mm wafer manufacturer profiles; and a 24-page addendum of detailed IC fab specifications. View http://www.icinsights.com/services/global-wafer-capacity/ for more information.

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