Despite the fact that there are various voices that assure that hea crisis due to the shortage of chips will begin to subside in 2023, and some even suggest that an improvement will begin to be noticed before, already at the end of 2022, new voices, including Volkswagen, point out that it will not be finished with it until 2024year in which it is several wafer factories are expected to open and start operatingan essential component for the manufacture of chips and components.
The consulting firm Techcet has warned that the demand for silicon wafers will exceed the available supply until the end of 2023, which will delay the production of certain chips, which may also drive up the prices of different components. Wafers are the bases on which chips are placed for the manufacture of components, so without them they cannot be assembled.
Currently, according to the consultant, the production of 300-millimeter wafers can barely cover the demand, and on top of that, this demand is going to grow in the coming months. Many of the owners of the plants that manufacture them have decided to increase their production, but they will not be able to do so until they increase their manufacturing capacity, which will not be achieved until 2024.
As a director of the consultancy has told The Register, this will lead to «prices rise due to the fragile balance between supply and demand, and also because suppliers ask for higher prices in contracts to pay for new investments. In addition, in the short term, energy and raw material costs are rising, and this is contributing to rising price pressure for silicon wafers. There has been a high demand for silicon wafers starting in 20202, and in that period there has been very minimal investment by wafer suppliers in new plants to make the wafers needed to assemble semiconductors. Only in the last six months or so have they announced plans to invest in new plants, although they will take about two years to produce for the semiconductor sector«.
Techcet anticipates that revenue from sales of silicon wafers, due to the rise in prices, will be 15,500 million dollars, 14.8% more than in 2021. On the other hand, SEMI, the main consortium in the sector, has indicated that manufacturers around the world are boosting their capacity to production of 200-millimeter wafers to meet demand. Their production capacity will reach 6.9 million wafers per month by 2024, compared to the 1.2 million wafers they could produce at the end of 2020.
Everything indicates that wafer manufacturers will add some 25 new 200-millimeter wafer production lines over the next five years, mainly to meet demand in areas such as 5G, the automotive industry or the Internet of Things. Likewise, from SEMI they also point out that this increase in production will be used above all for the manufacture of low-cost chips, among which there are analog and energy management chips, as well as circuits for screens.