Shelden, Gilbert (Shelden Consulting)
Hector, Scott (Freescale Semiconductor)
Marmillion, Patricia; Lercel, Michael (SEMATECH/IBM Corp.)
Microelectronics industry leaders routinely name mask cost and cycle time as top issues of concern. In 2002, a survey was created with support from SEMATECH and administered by SEMI North America to gather information about the mask industry as an objective assessment of its overall condition. The survey is designed with the input of mask technologists from semiconductor manufacturers, merchant mask suppliers, and makers of mask equipment. The 2005 survey was the fourth in the current series of annual surveys. The survey data can be used as a baseline for the mask industry and the microelectronics industry to gain a perspective on the technical and business status of the mask industry. The results may be used to guide future investments on critical path issues. Questions are grouped into categories: general business profile information, data processing, yields and yield loss mechanisms, delivery times, returns and services, operating cost factors, and equipment utilization. Because the questions covering operating cost factors and equipment utilization were just added to the survey, no trend analysis is possible. Within each category are many questions that together create a detailed profile of both the business and technical status of the mask industry. The assessment participation has changed from year to year. The 2005 survey, for example, includes inputs from eight major global merchant and captive mask manufacturers whose revenue represents approximately 85% of the global mask market.