[Participated in the 2019 Semicon Korea]
Wonik IPS, which is merging Wonik Terasemicon, is becoming a large equipment company that provides a ‘total solution’ for the semiconductor display field. Their goal is to become a top 10 global equipment company through active R&D, diversified equipment portfolio, and a diversified customer base.
Wonik IPS and Wonik Terasemicon passed the initially proposed merger approval at an extraordinary shareholders meeting held in December 2018. Wonik IPS has strengths in the semiconductor equipment business while Wonik Terasemicon has strengths in the display heat treatment equipment business.
A representative from the company quoted “One of the most important ways to obtain competitiveness in the equipment industry is to develop marketable products quickly and release them in a timely manner, so we don’t get lost behind the rapidly changing market and state-of-the-art technologies”, also adding “We expect our R&D infrastructure and capabilities to improve greatly, while our R&D investment, which was our weakness, will be improved vastly.”
Industry insiders are predicting that this merger will lead to the birth of a huge South Korean equipment company that makes more than 1 trillion KRW ($881 million USD) in annual sales.
Wonik IPS, strengths in the semiconductor equipment field
The major equipment of Wonik IPS is the GEMINI PECVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition) system. Gemini PECVD is used to form a dielectric film such as Anti-Reflective Coating or Hardmask. A company official explained that the high uniformity of the thin films, similar to that of an ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) equipment, is the main strength of this product. This equipment is widely used for DPT (Double Patterning), QPT (Quad Patterning), Hardmask Patterning processes that are used for producing logic devices and DRAM’s under 20nm.
An official of the company stated “The uniformity of GEMINI PECVD’s dielectric film is truly world-class. Also, due to its high productivity and low failure rate, it can greatly reduce investment/management costs.”
Wonik Terasemicon, which is being absorbed into Wonik IPS, also has their own semiconductor equipment. Their major product is the vertical structure layout type furnace that can simultaneously process multiple wafers at the same time. It can be used from the diffusion process, LPCVD (Low-Pressure Vapor Deposition), and the ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) process.
Recently, high-speed processing equipment, which has better processing power for increased productivity, is being used in the mass-production line of the clients. Due to the excellent temperature control and unique chamber design, it meets the needs for higher uniformity of the films even in high aspect ratio structures.
Emerging as a Dark horse in the display market
Wonik IPS is also emerging as one of the bigger companies in the display market. They are currently supplying core equipment for both South Korean and foreign LCD, OLED manufacturers.
Wonik IPS started mass-producing dry etching equipment, which is a piece of core equipment for the major process of LCD TFT (Thin Film Transistor), in 2007. And in 2012, they have entered the OLED dry etching market, increasing their shares ever since. Recently, they have been knocking at the door of the Chinese market.
Aside from the dry etcher, they are also developing a PECVD equipment, which is used in the encapsulation process (a key part of OLED production). This equipment is optimized for the TFE (Thin Film Encapsulation) process of major manufacturers
The main display equipment of Wonik Terasemicon is the Cryster series. It is specialized in heat treatment during the manufacturing process of OLED displays. It provides a wide range of temperature bands from low to very high. By applying the in-house technology of Wonik Terasemicon, the rapid lamp-up/lamp-down, it provides high productivity.
In addition, they also own the dynamic flow control system, which helps ensure the complete release of industrial byproducts during the curing process, and a piece of equipment that is specialized in providing heat treatment of oxides that is greatly affected by the slightest change of temperature.