EE Times reports 450mm fabs will emerge several years later than expected. Before the financial crisis the next-gen wafer size was expected to hit production by 2015 or 2016 at the earliest, but now analysts believe 450mm fabs have been delayed at least to 2017 or 2018.
''While 450-mm would significantly lower the cost per unit and increase the output of a fab, the equipment suppliers are not making the investments needed to move to larger diameter wafers,’’ said Gus Richard, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, in a recent report.
''The equipment suppliers did not realize an acceptable ROI on their R&D investment in 300-mm tools and they are hesitant to fund development of 450-mm wafer capable tools,’’ he said. ‘’While we believe that 450-mm will eventually move to production, this is unlikely to occur in the next five years.’’
Still, fab tool vendors are quietly ramping up their 450-mm efforts. ''There’s a lot of activity going on in the back channel around 450-mm to indicate that some big news will break next year,'' said wrote VLSI Research CEO G. Dan Hutcheson, in a recent report.