Shelden, Gilbert (Shelden Consulting, 202 Reef Ave Unit 302, Corpus Christi, TX)
Marmillion, Patrica; Hughes, Greg (SEMATECH, 2706 Montopolis Dr., Austin, TX, USA)
Microelectronics industry leaders routinely name the cost and cycle time of mask technology and mask supply as top critical issues. 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. This year’s survey data were presented in detail at BACUS and the detailed trend analysis presented at EMLC. The survey is designed with the input of semiconductor company mask technologists, merchant mask suppliers, and industry equipment makers. This year’s assessment is the sixth in the current series of annual reports. With continued industry support, the report can be used as a baseline to gain perspective on the technical and business status of the mask and microelectronics industries. The report will continue to serve as a valuable reference to identify the strengths and opportunities of the mask industry. The results will be used to guide future investments on critical path issues. This year’s survey is basically the same as the 2005 and 2006 surveys. Questions are grouped into eight categories: General Business Profile Information, Data Processing, Yields and Yield Loss, Mechanisms, Delivery Times, Returns and Services, Operating Cost Factors, and Equipment Utilization. Within each category is a multitude of questions that creates a detailed profile of both the business and technical status of the critical mask industry. Note: the questions covering operating cost factors and equipment utilization were added to the survey only in 2005; therefore, meaningful trend analysis is not available.