Where is the semiconductor manufacturing sweet spot? It depends.
There were more than 150 fabs manufacturing devices on 200mm wafers in 2016. Many are producing MOS Logic semiconductors, but there is a sprinkling of 200mm fabs producing a wide variety of other semiconductor product types including analog semiconductors, MEMS devices, power semiconductors, and SRAM. Nineteen new 200mm fabs are planned or under construction.
There were more than 100 fabs operating at 300mm in 2016. These fabs are focused on high-volume devices manufactured at leading-edge technology nodes, including MPUs, DRAM, and NAND Flash. Following the usual pattern, many semiconductor product types will migrate from 200mm to 300mm fabs. More than 40 additional 300mm fabs are planned or under construction.
The first category, greater than or equal to 800nm, was chosen because it represents most manufacturing in 150mm or smaller fabs. The second category, 500nm through 130nm, was chosen because it represents most manufacturing in 200mm fabs. The CAGR for 2016 through 2021 for this category is 4.6 percent. Most 300mm fabs are at technology nodes beyond 100nm, the third category. The CAGR for 2016 through 2021 for this category is 9.8 percent.
So, where is the semiconductor manufacturing sweet spot? The sweet spot for new fabs is 300mm, with 200mm fabs close behind. The sweet spot for wafer demand is 300mm wafers.