Applied Materials introduces Producer wafer fab system

Summary : Applied Materials’ Producer marked an important turning point in the history of the semiconductor industry.

Annexure :

Applied Materials’ introduction of the Producer® in July 1998, marks an important turning point in the history of the semiconductor industry. The industry was in the midst of a recession which triggered the unfolding failure of the first move into 300mm wafers from 200mm. The pressure to make this transition was driven by the need for greater productivity as fab costs were continuing to rise, in part, the result of the move from batch to single wafer cluster tools about ten years earlier. AMAT’s Producer design team conceived of it as a one-two punch to solve poor cluster-tool productivity and bridge the 200mm-to-300mm jump. At the time, tool designers still tended to focus designs on narrow application segments and the Producer was no different, as it was focused on CVD. Customers did not want bridge tools, seeing them as expensive wastes from the 150mm-to-200mm wafer size transition. But Applied was facing the equipment supplier’s dilemma of pleasing customer wants while trying to avoid the loss from developing a tool generation that customers would not buy because they didn’t need the capacity 300mm tools would bring. The Producer platform was a gutsy move because it offered what customers needed but didn’t want. Great equipment companies have done this in the past and won big. The Producer would go on to be one of the most successful platforms in the industry’s history, bridging many deposition and etch applications.

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