Indiana Foundry Equipment: Foundries See Mixed Future, Amid a tumultuous business environment, the silicon foundry industry is projected to see steady growth in a number of process segments in 2017.
As in past years, the foundry market is expected to grow faster than the overall IC industry in 2017. But at the same time, the IC industry—the foundry customer base—continues to witness a frenetic wave of merger and acquisition activity. Basically, the consolidation translates into a dwindling customer base for foundry vendors.
Adding to the uncertainty is a mixed picture for the overall IC market in 2017, plus some possible instability in the current economic and political climate.
For now, though, the foundry market remains a bright spot. 2016 was a relatively good year for foundries following a sluggish campaign in 2015. “The demand came back somewhere in the first half of 2016,” said Walter Ng, vice president of business management at UMC. “I wouldn’t say 2016 has been a gangbuster year for foundry. It’s been a good year.”
Going forward, foundry vendors are cautiously optimistic about 2017. “From what we see, customers are not expecting any significant correction per se,” Ng said. “Demand across the board looks relatively healthy. Demand for 8-inch is quite strong.”
In total, the worldwide foundry market is expected to grow by 6% in 2016 over 2015, according to Jim Feldhan, president of Semico Research. “2017 will see foundry growth improve to 10%,” Feldhan said.
Still, foundry vendors face some familiar challenges:
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