Global Wafer Cleaning Equipment Market: Rising semiconductor & electronics sector and growing usage of micro-electrochemical systems are key factor driving market growth.

Published Date: 16/05/2021

The global wafer cleaning equipment market is estimated to be USD 11.8 billion by 2027 from USD 6.9 billion in 2020 , at a CAGR of 8.0 % during 2020 to 2027. Wafer cleaning is the removal of particles or impurities from the semiconductor surface without altering the quality of the surface. The performance of the device and its reliability are affected considerably due to the presence of contaminants and particulate impurities on the wafers of device surface. The cleaning is required to remove the residues and improve the performance of the semiconductors employed for various applications. The decreasing size of semiconductors makes it difficult for the smaller particles to be removed in the cleaning process. Also the impurities get strongly bonded to the surface owing to the strong electrostatic force that exists between the surface and the impurities. Microelectronic cleaning involves the removal of contamination and impurities by various technologies namely supercritical fluid, cryogenic aerosol, aqueous, dry, and wet chemical cleaning.

The surface cleaning should be done carefully so that the surface of the silicon is not affected adversely or damaged. There are various steps involved in cleaning the silicon wafers namely, solvent clean, RCA-1 clean followed by hydrofluoric acid (HF) dip. In step 1, the silicon wafer is subjected to a two solvent cleaning process. Firstly, the wafer is soaked in the acetone bath at a temperature of not more than 55 degree Celsius for ten minutes. After this, the silicon wafer is dipped into methanol solvent for about five minutes. The wafer is then rinsed with de-ionized water followed by blow drying with nitrogen gas. In the second step, the RCA clean method is used to remove the organic residue if any and provide a thin protective layer of oxide to the surface of the water so that no impurity from the water surface sticks to the wafer’s surface. The final step involves the removal of silicon dioxide from the wafer surface. Thus, the surface of the silicon wafer is cleaned of any impurities and contaminations.

The growing electronics and semiconductor industry is said to be the primary driver for the global wafer cleaning equipment market. Growth in the tablet and Smartphone market is also a significant driver for the market. There is huge demand for electronics manufacturing and semiconductor devices in the Asia Pacific region. There is also a growing demand for LED lights due to the increase in its commercial use. This necessitates the maintenance of the silicon wafer employed in electronics. However, the changing quality standards may hinder the growth of the market. Nevertheless, the growing need to maintain the widely used silicon wafers in the electronics industry is anticipated to positively impact the global wafer cleaning equipment market.

The wafer cleaning equipment market is dominated by key global established players such as SCREEN Holdings Co., Ltd. (Japan), Tokyo Electron Limited (Japan), Applied Materials (US), LAM Research (US), and Shibaura Mechatronics Corporation (Japan). These companies have adopted both organic and inorganic growth strategies such as new product launches, partnerships, agreements, mergers and acquisitions, and expansions to strengthen their position in the market.

Geographically, the global wafer cleaning equipment market is segmented into North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East & Asia. Asia Pacific is the foremost manufacturer of electronic devices with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as the leading nations. Asia Pacific has also played a significant role as a chief contributor towards the microelectronics cleaning equipment industry while North America has a steady growth in semiconductor device market over the recent past years.

The advancements in capabilities of semiconductor equipment manufacturing industry in Asian economies such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan drives the wafer cleaning equipment market in the region. The region has also emerged as a central point for increasing investments and business expansion capabilities for major key players from the wafer cleaning equipment market. Favorable economic conditions and cheap labor costs in the region are the key driving factors for increasing business opportunities. Moreover, high presence of wafer and IC manufacturing firms in the region contribute to the growth of the wafer cleaning equipment market.