• Siltronic to Stop Production of Small Diameter Wafers

    Siltronic to Stop Production of Small Diameter Wafers

    3 Min Read

    Siltronic AG plans to gradually cease production of polished and epitaxial small diameter wafers at its Burghausen site. The process, which excludes unpolished wafers, is set to be completed in the course of 2025.

    Siltronic currently produces wafers with a diameter of 300 mm, 200 mm and wafers with smaller diameters (SD) of up to 150 mm. The SD wafer technology was developed primarily in the 1990s and earlier. The most significant technological breakthroughs in recent decades have been achieved with larger diameters, which also show the highest growth potential. An average volume growth of 6 percent per year is expected for 300 mm wafers.

    “SD wafer production at Siltronic originated in Burghausen in 1968. It has contributed to our success for many years, thanks to the outstanding work of our employees. However, the wafer industry has evolved significantly due to structural changes and innovations. Demand has increasingly shifted to wafers with larger diameters and improved properties, while SD wafers are approaching the end of their life cycle. This has led to a notable decline in volumes, which recently had a negative impact on earnings. As this will likely continue to intensify in the coming years, we have decided, together with the Supervisory Board, to gradually reduce the production of small diameters and to cease it in the course of 2025,” comments Dr. Michael Heckmeier, CEO of Siltronic AG.

    “Despite this decision the Burghausen site remains of crucial importance for Siltronic. Our global technology as well as research and development center, the production of 300 mm wafers and 200 mm hyperpure silicon ingots as well as a large part of our administrative functions are located here,” Michael Heckmeier continues.

    Just 25 years ago, more than half of the silicon wafer market consisted of wafers with a diameter of up to 150 mm. Today, it is less than five percent, based on data published by the industry organization SEMI. This is the result of customers reducing or ceasing their production of small wafers due to the dynamic technological developments in the semiconductor industry. In addition, competition, particularly from China, is now clearly felt in the small diameters.

    In the past financial year, SD wafers accounted for a single-digit percentage of the Group’s sales. The impact on earnings has already been clearly negative in recent months. Approximately 400 people are employed in the small diameters, about half of whom are on fixed-term and temporary contracts. The aim is to reduce the core workforce in a socially responsible manner through demographic change and partial retirement, and to avoid layoffs for operational reasons.

    “Due to structural changes in the market, we assume that SD wafers will not recover and that their impact on earnings would be considerably negative in the coming years. We have therefore decided to take this difficult but necessary step. At the same time, our goal is to ensure that workforce reductions at Siltronic are socially responsible and no layoffs are made for operational reasons. After the end of the SD wafer production and the subsequent dismantling measures that may be necessary, our EBITDA margin will improve by around one to two percentage points in the medium term,” adds Claudia Schmitt, CFO of Siltronic AG.

    Original – Siltronic

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  • GlobalWafers on Schedule with Sustainability Goals

    GlobalWafers on Schedule with Sustainability Goals

    3 Min Read

    GlobalWafers has been responding to the challenges of global climate risks by dedicating to environmental sustainability in its manufacturing processes, renewable energy adoption and business strategies.

    GlobalWafers took the initiative in 2021 and committed to 100% renewable energy usage by 2050 in its global operations, and formally joined RE100 initiative in 2022 to reaffirm its determination to sustainable operation. As one of the very few semiconductor manufacturers that owns its solar power plants, GlobalWafers actively invests solar power plants to gain more flexibility and advantages in energy use, such as reducing carbon emissions, enhancing operational resilience, and meeting regulatory requirements more effectively. While the demand for clean energy continues to grow, GlobalWafers looks forward to positioning itself for long-term success in a rapidly evolving market.

    GlobalWafers’ commitment to green wafer manufacturing is exemplified by its operation sites in Denmark and Italy. GlobalWafers’ Danish site, Topsil, is poised to become the first semiconductor crystal manufacturing site to utilize its own installed 100% green electricity during 2H of 2024. 

    By constructing a new solar park with an estimated capacity of 10.2MW, the power plant is expected to generate 9,500,000 kWh per year. Accordingly, Topsil is set to produce more electricity than it consumes, marking a significant milestone in GlobalWafers’ green manufacturing process.

    Besides, GlobalWafers’ Italian site, MEMC Electronic Materials S.p.A., is also expected to reach 100% green electricity usage in the 12” new line during the capacity ramp-up stage in 2025. Leveraging power purchase agreements, installation of solar panels, and actively exploring alternative clean energy sources, the Italian site demonstrates GlobalWafers’ multifaceted approach to achieving its RE100 target.

    With its global presence, GlobalWafers emphasizes local supply to minimize transportation distances, consequently reducing the carbon footprint and the potential impact of carbon tariffs, while also mitigating geopolitical risks. In a proactive move, GlobalWafers has implemented Internal Carbon Pricing mechanism, urging each site to consider the environmental impact of its operations. By accounting for the true cost of carbon emissions, GlobalWafers aims to foster a culture of informed decision-making that prioritizes sustainability.

    To showcase solidarity with global transition towards net zero emission, GlobalWafers participates in the “Earth Hour 60” initiative again this year with affiliated group companies. On March 23rd at 8:30 pm, GlobalWafers’ Taiwan sites will switch off unnecessary lights and power-consuming equipment for one hour. This symbolic gesture underscores the GlobalWafers continuous commitment to energy conservation and carbon reduction.

    As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change, GlobalWafers, as a long-term partner of its customers, not only actively considers implementing SBTi, but also remains steadfast in its pursuit of a sustainable environment. By embracing renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, and strengthening green wafer manufacturing, GlobalWafers is leading the charge towards a greener, more sustainable future.

    Original – GlobalWafers

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