What is Europe’s Industry Strategic Direction? Debate Coming Up Soon at ISS Europe

What is Europe’s Industry Strategic Direction? Debate Coming Up Soon at ISS Europe

By Heinz Kundert, president, SEMI Europe

Top semiconductor executives from leading device, equipment and materials manufacturer as well as representatives from the European Union will debate the strategic direction of Europe’s semiconductor landscape at the Industry Strategy Symposium Europe which takes place from February 24-26 near Milano. ISS 2013 will focus on three key European challenges:

  • Will Europe’s semiconductor industry find a common strategy to keep pace with other regions with regard to “More Moore” and “More than Moore” manufacturing?
  • What are the critical technologies, new materials and productivity gains needed to keep the industry viable?
  • What are the market drivers in 2013 (and beyond) and what will the semiconductor landscape look like?

“To compete with other regions, Europe needs a ‘one voice strategy’ for Europe” said Nellie Kroess, EU Commissioner of Digital Agenda, recently.  “One voice” implies that the industry needs to convene and discuss what the critical issues are.  Is the decision between “More Moore” or “More than Moore”?  Or, is it rather to define how these approaches should co-exist, focusing on the synergies between both?

Protagonists of scaling say that new process technology will only be developed on main stream that also includes 450mm wafer diameter. Others say that Europe should think twice about whether to invest money into scaling when other regions are “miles ahead.”   The debate has been fuelled by the Key Enabling Technology (KET) initiative which will not only fund research and development, but also pilot production.

Europe’s equipment industry must address both issues if it wants to keep pace with the rest of the world.  Europe owns a worldwide market share of 25 percent in semiconductor production equipment and does 80 percent of their business outside Europe. According to a SEMI survey in 2012, the vast majority of equipment vendors worldwide have decided to gradually invest into 450mm equipment — regardless of probable financial and technical risks.

The conference will also shed light on the question of whether further consolidation of the industry will occur and its consequences. How will the semiconductor landscape be shaped if and when 450mm and the next generation of lithography tools will come on-line?  Market analysts from Future Horizon and IC-Inside and industry specialists from Bosch and ATREG will present their scenarios on these and related questions.

Regardless of macroeconomics, the question of future device designs, process technologies and new materials — which are needed for enhancing products with more functionality on smaller space and with less power consumption — remains a hot topic at ISS and has its firm place in the conference. In addition, the conference will address efficiency increases and the need for further alliances among industry and research institutes.  These issues will increasingly become differentiators, above and beyond the classical competitive advantages, in the semiconductor industry.

The European Union wants Europe to remain competitive in Microelectronics, but it needs clearer prioritization of the issues.  That means that the right people need to be in the same place at the same time… discussing the issues.

At ISS in February, the debate on the industry’s issues will be lively… as executives from ABB, ASM, ASML, Bosch, GlobalFoundries, IMEC, Infineon, Intel, LETI, NXP, Philips, STMicroelectronics, and SOITEC share their perspectives on what direction the industry should take in the next few years.

ISS Europe will be held at the Hotel Regina Palace in Stresa, near Milano, Italy. It offers a unique opportunity to interact with high-level representatives from the entire semiconductor supply chain and to network among customers, partners and peers.  If you are interested in hearing the debate — and sharing your perspectives with others — I encourage you to register now for ISS.

I look forward to seeing you there.

January 9, 2013