EC not interested in backing 450mm

The EC is not interested in backing 450mm development in the immediate future, it was said at the 5th SEMI Brussels Forum this morning.

Rob Hartman director of the strategic technology programme at ASML stated that 450mm is something that would happen in the next five years and that “We need to get a large manufacturing facility in Europe supported by the EC.”

Answering Hartman, Gabriel Crean vice president of CEA and Sherpa of the Chairman of the EC Key Enabling Technologies High Level Group, stated: “It is very important to revive manufacturing in Europe. There are several decisions that need to be taken on 22nm and 18nm. Before we do 450mm we need to retain the manufacturing we have. Intel has not got 22nm in Dublin. At Dresden there are difficulties with Globalfoundries because the decisions are made in the US. 450mm is not something for the immediate future.”

Apparently CEA, LETI and ST are anti-450mm because they fear ASML going down a 450mm-only route and leaving 300mm technology at a dead end.

However the president of Imec, Luc van den Hove, asserted: “We have a strong equipment industry in Europe and we need a 450mm platform. If we don’t have that in Europe, it is clear that, in five years time, all the development will happen outside Europe.”

van den Hove added: “If Europe doesn’t work together with the world leaders. The world leaders will work together without Europe.”

Andreas Wild, executive director of ENIAC, said: “I have a strong conviction it will happen. The best way to lose in semiconductors is to bet against the economies of scale.”

Analysts Future Horizons are currently preparing a report on the viability of setting up a 450mm plant in Europe. It is due to be delivered by the end of the year. SEMI is currently against 450mm development but that could change if its members change their views. The whole 450mm development project is expected to cost $20bn.


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