3D NAND boosts semiconductor equipment

April 24, 2017

The semiconductor capital equipment market “…has been on a tear of late,” according to Dan Gallagher in The Wall Street Journal.

“The two largest companies by market value, Applied Materials and Lam Research, have grown sales steadily over the past three years and are expected to deliver double-digit growth this year,” he writes, adding, “KLA-Tencor has risen 40% since its merger with Lam was called off in October due to opposition from regulators.”

Gallagher attributes this performance in part to the shift to 3D NAND. That mirrors in part a comment by Ajit Manocha, president and CEO of SEMI, last month when reporting a February worldwide semiconductor equipment billings figure of $1.97 billion for North America-based semiconductor equipment makers. He said, “Billings levels remain elevated as memory and foundry manufacturers continue to invest in advanced semiconductor technologies. These investments are paving the way for the ramp of 3D NAND and 1X-nm devices.”

Gallagher continues, “Wes Twigg of Pacific Crest projects that capital expenditures for flash memory production will jump 25% this year. Atif Malik of Citigroup said he expects the current supply-demand balance to ‘remain tight’ through 2018, which will likely keep pricing strong through then.”

Micron Technology and Intel announced the availability of their 3D NAND technology in March 2015. The technology stacks layers of data storage cells vertically.

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