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Wafer inspection equipment is fabrication system utilized for the detection of defects during the semiconductor wafer manufacturing processes. Increasing application of electronic semiconductor ICs in consumer electronics, industrial, automobile segments and related R&D activities is expected to drive the increased demands for the production. Requirement to maintain the quality of products and the client satisfaction is expected to remain the primary factor that would fuel the wafer inspection equipment market growth.

Proliferation of wireless computing devices are expected to primarily contribute to the industry growth

Advanced wireless networking technologies such as 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and wireless LAN have enabled fast and easy data transmission. Smartphones, tablets, wearables and sensors integrating these technologies have witnessed significant demand increase over the past few years. In conjunction with the demands for high level integration and development of new designs to provide support to multiple application on single platforms, intensive industry competition has led to increased demands for better quality and least defects in the semiconductor devices. Moreover, increasing demands for high performance chips for mission critical applications in industries and R&D activities will present considerable growth opportunities for the wafer inspection equipment market through the forecast period.

IoT, and digitization are the major trends expected to transform the globe, which would require semiconductor technologies as the basis of their framework. Smart connected TVs, vehicle automation, kitchen automation, smart city, smart grids, are among the many such IoT concepts that are expected to gain traction over the next few years. This will increase demand for the electronic product manufacturing, which will in turn fuel the wafer inspection equipment market growth.

Wafer Inspection Equipment Market Taxonomy

On the basis of technology, the global wafer inspection equipment market is classified into:

  • E-beam
  • Optical

On the basis of wafer type, the global wafer inspection equipment market is classified into:

  • Unpatterned wafer
  • Patterned wafer

On the basis of end user, the global wafer inspection equipment market is classified into:

  • Integrated device manufacturers
  • Memory manufacturers
  • Foundries

On the basis of regions, the global wafer inspection equipment market is classified into:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Africa

Advent of 3D finFETs, NAND and advanced DRAMs technologies are expected to present considerable growth challenge to the industry growth

Optical and E-beam are complementary technologies that perform distinct operations in the workflow. optical has fast throughputs and finds great applications in the end use. On the other hand E-beam helps in detection of smallest defects, however the throughputs are low. Owing to these features, it finds substantial applications in R&D activities. Increasing demands for advanced computing and processing has led to development of 3D finFETs, NAND and advanced DRAMs, which requires the tools to assess complex structures. Wafer assessment on the scales below 10 nm is extremely difficult, and in case of overlooking of the smallest error can impact the end use. This is expected to be major industry growth challenge over the next coming years.

Asia Pacific to be key growth engine of the wafer inspection equipment market

Asia Pacific is the largest hub for the electronic semiconductor manufacturing activities, driven by the extensive production demands specifically in the countries that include China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Moreover, the region is also attributed with the presence of key electronic industry participants such as Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, among many others, which will help the region sustain its dominance over the next few years.

U.S. is expected to contribute to major industry share in the industry growth primarily owing to the major inclination of the users towards innovative technologies such as connected vehicles, industrial automation and other process automation. Moreover, the region is also characterized with the presence of major tech giants that include, Google, Tesla, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and GlobalFoundries among many others, which will provide consistent demands for the wafer inspection equipment market.

Global Wafer Inspection Equipment Market: Key Players

Key players in the wafer inspection equipment market include Applied Materials, Zeiss Global, Hermes Microvision (ASML), FEI (Thermo Fisher Scientific), KLA-Tencor, Hitachi High-Technologies, JEOL, Lasec Corporation, Lam Research, Nikon, Nanometrics, Planar Corporation, Tokyo Seimitsu, Rudolph Technologies, and Toray Engineering

Global Wafer Inspection Equipment Market: Key Developments

  • In December 2018, ISRA VISION, a manufacturer of solutions in the machine vision and industrial image processing launched edgeScan wafer edge inspection system that allows wafer edges to be monitored during the entire manufacturing process, both increasing yield and lowering costs.
  • In July 2018, KLA-Tencor, provider of process control and yield management solutions has announced two new defect inspection products Voyager 1015 and Surfscan SP7, addressing two key challenges in tool and process monitoring during silicon wafer and chip manufacturing at the leading-edge logic and memory nodes.
  • In May 2018, Meyer Burger Technology Ltd has launched its WIS-08 wafer inspection system at SNEC, Shanghai China. The WIS-08 wafer inspection system is used by the photovoltaic industry to test silicon wafers and to classify them according to quality.
  • In January 2018, Hitachi High-Technologies Develops Wafer Surface Inspection System LS9300A-EG.It is designed for inspection of wafer surfaces prior to circuit patterning application and is capable of inspecting both the front and backsides of wafers.
  • In September 2015, Lasertec has launched SICA88 SIC wafer inspection and review systems. According to the company, this system is featured both surface and photoluminescence (PL) inspection capabilities, SICA88 enables customers to concurrently inspect and analyses surface defects as well as crystallographic defects.

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