2018 was a year of continued growth for our industry, following the strong growth in 2017. Worldwide semiconductor industry sales increased by around 14% driven by high memory prices and broad-based electronics demand for cloud services, mobile devices, automotive and industrial applications. The market for wafer fab equipment (WFE) grew by approximately 10% in 2018, primarily driven by memory customers, although some slowing in memory segments began in the second half of the year.
Wafer fab equipment spending was up about 10% in 2018, however it was strongest in the first half of the year as memory spending slowed in the second half, particularly for 3D-NAND. Spending for advanced logic was up for the year and even accelerated in the second half, while foundry spending decreased for the year, but also accelerated in the second half. Our total company’s sales increased by 17% in 2018 on a US$ basis. As such, we believe we outperformed the broader WFE market last year.
ALD continued to be the key driver for our business and again accounted for more than half of equipment sales in 2018. The other product lines, also showed strong momentum in 2018, with solid sales increases in the vertical furnace, epitaxy and PECVD product lines, driven by increasing demand in logic and analog, where we traditionally are strongly positioned with our broad range of deposition products.
We launched our new Synergis ALD tool in 2018 for advanced node logic and memory volume production applications. Synergis leverages the core capabilities of our existing Pulsar and EmerALD tools to address a wide range of thermal ALD applications, and uses our proven high productivity XP8 platform enabling 8 ALD chambers in a compact footprint. Synergis allows our customers to extend existing films to new applications requiring high throughput and allows us to address many new films for a broad array of logic and memory applications. With the successful launch of Synergis, we are further increasing our addressable market in single wafer ALD, especially for applications requiring both high performance and high throughput.
Furthermore, in early 2019, we announced the formal launch of the XP8 QCM tool for high-productivity plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition applications. This newest addition to our portfolio of leading ALD platforms allows for the integration of up to 4 modules each containing four process reactors, on a single platform.
A key tenet of our product stewardship effort is to increase the productivity of our equipment. With the introduction of the Synergis tool in 2018 we are able to address more applications that are capable of running on the XP8 platform. The XP8 platform architecture improves productivity by integrating up to 8 process chambers in a compact footprint. The result is improved efficiency as more wafers are processed in less area of the fab cleanroom, compared to two 4 chamber tools. Furthermore we continue to make progress working with customers to increase the throughput of various processes running on their ASMI tools. Increasing throughput is a direct improvement in efficiency.
In December 2018, we received a Supplier Excellence Award from TSMC for the performance and support of our equipment and technology during 2018. This is the third year in a row that we have received an excellence award from TSMC. During the presentation of the award, TSMC explained the three key points that contributed to us receiving the award:
Over the past 50 years we have grown to become a leading global supplier
of semiconductor wafer processing equipment. A company that develops
innovative process solutions for our customers, and manages itself in the best
interests of our investors, our employees, society, and other stakeholders.
Yet now is the time to enter a new era of innovation, to embark on the next
phase of growth. We understand that this requires commitment and strength
across many areas. From innovation in R&D, to advancing new technologies
and addressing new applications. From developing our people, to creating
even stronger relationships with key customers.
This is how we will take the next leap forward.
ROADMAP TO THE FUTURE
Our roadmap to the future will enable us to not only
achieve our next phase of growth, it will ensure we
can continue to help our customers achieve their
technology roadmaps for next-generation devices.
Our technology helps drive innovation, increasing the number of scientific breakthroughs, many of which are achieved from our advanced process equipment that deposits new materials with precision and productivity, positively benefiting society in sectors from healthcare and education, to transport and energy.
For semiconductor manufacturers, scaling chips
to smaller dimensions is an ongoing challenge.
Our innovations and equipment are vital in helping make many of these transitions happen.
Striving for efﬁciency ensures that our
customers get the products, services,
and results they expect. Intensifying
our focus on efﬁciency will make us a
stronger company, ready to take the
next leap forward.
We are a multinational company that
embraces diversity in every sense
of the word. With 29 different
nationalities working across the
company, we combine our talents
to drive innovation.
Achieving our ambitions takes intelligence, knowledge, skill,
determination, and dedication. And it is this combination of
qualities that we nurture in our people.
Our goal is to impact tomorrow’s generation
as positively as we’ve impacted today’s.
Making this happen takes the xtraordinary
talent of our people, who work together
to drive innovation and deliver excellence.
Collaboration is fundamental to our
continued success; from working
with our customers to optimize our
equipment and processes to enable
their technology roadmaps, to
creating partnerships on cutting-edge
research and development.
Operational excellence is one of the essential
pillars of our strategy, which enables us to provide
our customers with the high-quality, leading-edge
products and services they demand.
R&D is central to our development,
leading to new device architectures,
new materials, and new processes
that strengthen our competitive
positioning and enable our customers
to deliver the next-generation chips.
By extending our technological scope with a
more diverse product portfolio, we can help our
customers continue to advance their business
while growing our own in new market segments.
We create long-term value for our
stakeholders in a variety of ways.
From working with our customers
to develop innovative solutions, to
ensuring value creation growth
and positive investor returns.
We are committed to positively
contributing to society and
reducing our impact on the
environment. Only then can
we truly say we are helping
create more with less.
We believe sustainability takes many forms.
From developing sustainable technology
roadmaps for our customers, to creating
a sustainable living environment for all.
Safety is a front-line requirement,
which is why our ZERO HARM!
policy outlines our vision on product
safety, and our CR policy lays out
our commitment and expectations
towards health and safety.