Samsung Electronics plans to focus more on R&D activities on high-tech facilities as a way to maintain the ‘Far Superiority’ in the semiconductor business.
According to industry sources on the 7th, the Production Technologies Research Institute in DA (Device solutions) sector of Samsung Electronics has got business diagnosis that corresponds to business audit throughout first half this year. It is heard that purpose of diagnosis and conclusions are focused on ‘operational efficiency in an organization’ and ‘R&D focus on major facilities of next generation.
Production Technologies Research Institute was established in 1980 as a ‘factory automation department’ within Samsung Electronics Research institute. In 1983, it became an independent Institute of Production Technologies Research. It was renamed Production Technologies Centre in 1922 and Production Technologies Institute in 2006. It was in 2011 when it was incorporated into the DS sector. The Production Technologies Research Institute had the business diagnosis from 2012 to 2013 after it was incorporated into the DS. It is the second time that it gets comprehensive business diagnosis in the DS sector.
At the time of the first business diagnosis, it was decided to focus on semiconductor facilities. As it was transferred to the DS sector from Samsung’s umbrella organization, research on general manufacturing facilities was lowered. The plan to directly modify and improve semiconductor equipment that was used was also concluded after diagnosis at the time. If old equipment is modified and used as a new one, it can greatly reduce purchase cost of facilities.
It is heard that this year’s diagnosis concluded to strengthen R&D on ‘major facilities of next generation’
The etching equipment currently used in key semiconductor processes is the R&D result of the Institute of Production Technologies. The same goes for HBM (High-bandwidth Memory) and TC bonders for production of 3-layer stacked image sensors. The outcomes of Production Technologies Institute are manufactured by the subsidiary.
Industry official said “it seems to strengthen R&D on major facilities which are indispensable as well as high value added.” He also added “Recently introduced EUV Mask Defect Review System (EMDRS) is a good example.
EMDRS is inspection equipment that can detect early defects in masks for EUV. It was unveiled on October 17 at Samsung Tech Day. The strong market leader in diagnosis of mask defects is German Carl Zeiss. The company's mask-defective equipment costs over KRW100 billion and takes nearly a year to install after ordering.
"If Samsung Electronics develops such equipment directly, it can be a good way to prevent so-called 'monopolistic practice' of facilities companies," another industry source said. He also added "I think the Institute for Production Technologies will concentrate more on developing such high-tech facilities in advance."
Until last year, Kim Yong-sik, CEO of Samsung Electronics' Production Technologies Research Institute, also served as CEO of SEMES. Yang Jang-kyu has been the head of the research center since early this year. Yang is from Applied Materials, which is the world's number one semiconductor equipment company.