European Commission report looks into 450-mm fab initiative -

A study commissioned by the European Commission has looked into the potential role of European authorities in encouraging the construction of a 450-mm wafer fab on the old continent.

The report, prepared by Future Horizons and Decision SA, tried to identify activities required to support research and innovation in semiconductor production in Europe. It found that semiconductor output in Europe could decline unless something is done to support development.

The report concluded that the EU and member states could launch a five-year program to create a 450-mm pilot line in Europe, allowing companies to transition to 450-mm production and coordinate with the US G450C initiative in Albany. The construction of a jointly-owned 450-mm fab for more-than-Moore semiconductors is another possibility. 

The transition to 450-mm production is necessary to keep up with 10 percent annual growth in wafer capacity, the report found.

Future Horizons CEO Malcolm Penn points out that 450-mm fabs have 2.25 times the output of 300-mm fabs, with a 30 percent cost reduction.

Interestingly, a recent SEMI report found that companies will make record investments in fab equipment next year. However, Europe will not see much investment, as most fab spending is expected in Korea, the Americas and Taiwan.

Fab equipment spending in Europe is also behind China and Japan.