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Industry News

Market Outlook

By Dave McAninch, Director of Strategic Marketing – Plasma Power BU

Plasma Power participates in a broad array of plasma-based markets, with semi being the largest. The non-semi markets (industrial) are quite diverse but use the same type of processes used in semi for the fabrication of materials and thin films that are critical to modern life.

Semi

The semi equipment market has continued to have strong results throughout 2022, with caution and some contraction in the outlook for 2023.

The semi market for Plasma Power is primarily equipment for wafer fabrication, often called the wafer fab equipment (WFE) equipment market. Our power systems control the energy critical for plasma-based processes that are used to deposit/etch/modify materials and create structures that make up a modern semiconductor.

AE’s semi market has grown considerably in the last year, fueled by increased demand for semiconductors, cyclical growth in advanced memory technologies, and heightened complexity of leading-edge nodes that are used to create more complex chips. As these technologies advance, they drive our customers to tighter control of their plasmas and processes, requiring power systems that offer more waveform control at higher precision.

Moving into 2023, the wide consensus is that there will be a pullback in the semi equipment markets. While the long-term outlook for semi equipment is very positive, 2023 is being forecast at a smaller market size due to a combination of U.S. export controls on semi equipment, memory contraction, and semi inventory digestion of the capacity installed in 2021 and 2022.

Industrial Markets

The industrial markets are quite diverse and include power systems used in the fabrication of solar panels, flat-panel displays, consumer electronics, decorative and EMI coatings, thin-film batteries, precision optics, low-e windows, and many other applications. These markets often have very different market cycles than semi, offering AE a more diverse ecosystem to participate in.

Many of these markets are more linked to the global economy, which has seen some significant changes over the last few years. As the COVID pandemic began impacting the world in early 2020, there was significant uncertainty and a sudden pullback in the industrial manufacturing markets. This was quickly followed by a global ramp in the manufacturing sectors, which has driven growth from mid-2020 through 2022.

As we move into 2023, the impacts of inflation, interest-rate changes, and a slump in global trade are creating uncertainty in some of the industrial markets. As an example, flat-panel display manufacturing had significant growth during the height of the COVID pandemic, but most of the expansions being planned for 2023 are now being pushed into 2024 or later based on the current economic environment. The bright spot in 2023 appears to be the solar market, which is investing in new equipment as the industry migrates to higher efficiency hetro-junction-technology (HJT) solar cells.

AE in the World

Read about real-world use cases and how we help customers solve critical issues in their plasma-based processes.

Lacking the ability to capture the full intricacies of their plasma system, a customer struggled to accurately characterize their process and troubleshoot deviations and interruptions. This study describes how the AE team incorporated the PowerInsight by Advanced Energy™ data acquisition and analysis platform to provide the insight required to identify the root cause and implement effective solutions. Read the case study. 

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Events

  • SEMI Goes Big; Chips Get Small — At SEMICON® West 2022, the ability to have face-to-face conversations, shake hands, and see booths in three dimensions was a refreshing return to tradition. Read AE's wrap-up blog, which was featured for several days on the SEMI website.

  • After a Four-Year Delay, Glasstec 2022 Re-ignites the Industry — In perfect alignment with the United Nations’ “Year of Glass,” glasstec 2022 provided a platform to celebrate its many uses.
  • Optimize Your Thin-Film Plasma Process with Iot-Enabled Intelligence — In November, AE presented a webinar on the PowerInsight by Advanced Energy® solution in collaboration with Physics World. If you missed any of the content or couldn’t attend, watch the recording here.

Thank You

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Thank You

You may now view any resource on the Advanced Energy site. Click the button below to view your requested resource.