Canon wants to challenge ASML with EUV free chip production machines

Canon wants to challenge ASML with EUV-free chip production machines

Japanese Canon is developing a new generation of lithography devices for semiconductor production that can compete with the products of Dutch ASML, which is a virtual monopolist on the market for such solutions. The construction of a new plant in Japan will also be in response to investments by competitors in the US, South Korea and Taiwan in this area.

    Image source: Canon

Image source: Canon

The investment is expected to be $345 million, including the cost of building and installing manufacturing facilities. The plant will start production in spring 2025. The company will thus double its production capacity in this niche. The company not only wants to expand production, but also bets on new technologies, thanks to which it will be possible to produce next-generation semiconductors at low prices. Today, in two factories in Japan, it produces lithography equipment used to make chips for automotive control systems, for example.

The new plant will be built on a 70,000 m plot2 in the area of ​​an existing production. This will be Canon’s first new lithography facility to be built in 21 years and construction will begin in 2023. In 2022, sales of lithography equipment are expected to increase by 29% year-on-year to 180 machines – four times more than a decade ago. The new facility meets the growing demand.

According to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics, the global semiconductor market surpassed $500 billion last year for the first time in history, and the industry expects it to surpass $1 trillion in 2030. Today, Canon controls 30% of the global lithographic equipment market by volume, followed by ASML, which accounts for 60%. Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) have announced plans to build new factories of their own in the United States and other countries. Canon decided to follow their lead.

The company has also developed a next-generation technology called nanoimprint lithography. This makes it possible to produce the most advanced microcircuits at lower prices than existing lithographic equipment. The process is simplified thanks to a technique that allows you to literally “stamp” the drawings of integrated circuits, which can significantly reduce production costs – Japanese Kioxia and Dai Nippon Printing took part in the development of the technology.

Today, the technology that uses EUV lithography to form nanometer-level circuits is the most indispensable technology. The only source for such technologies today is the Dutch ASML. However, such devices are expensive, costing about $138 million per machine, and consume a lot of energy. When nanoimprint lithography reaches the stage of practical commercial use, Canon expects to reduce the cost of lithography by up to 40% and power consumption by up to 90% compared to EUV. This will shake off ASML’s dominance in the market.

About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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