Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
Fab Heaven; Fab Hell
It’s not as bad as you think. Europe actually has 320 fabs on 265 sites, says Heinz Kundert, President of SEMI, and, this year, the installed fab capacity in Europe will grow by 6% and, next year, SEMI expects it to grow 5%. 300mm capacity in Europe will grow 23% this year and 14% next.
The top three countries have half the 320 fabs. Germany has 30% of the total; the UK and France have 20%; the fourth largest number of fabs is in Russia, and the fifth is in the Netherlands
In the last ten years, Europe has spent $55 billion on semiconductor manufacturing equipment and materials, says Kundert.
So we’re not yet reduced to the debt-ridden, wastrel, Theme-Park-Europe status some people say is our fate.
In 2011 alone, $7.5 billion has been spent in Europe on equipment and materials.
Of the 320 fabs in Europe, 79 make ICs, 84 make power devices, 48 make MEMs, 25 make RF devices, 17 make printed electronics and the rest make an assortment of products.
However, in one way danger lies. “State of the art fabs are too big to be financed by one country only,” says Kundert.
The coming era of the multi-country-owned fab leads one to adapt an old joke:
Fab heaven is where the machinists are Japanese, the R&D is done by the British, the IC design is done by the Indians, the canteen is run by the French, HR is run by the Swedes, the management is Taiwanese, customer service is done by Italians and the marketing is done by Americans.
Fab hell is where the customer service is done by Germans, marketing is done by Belgians, HR is run by the Chinese, the canteen is run by the British, the machinists are French, the management is Indian, the R&D is done by the Irish and the IC design is done by Australians.Tags: belgians, canteen, fabs, machinists, wastrel