Chip crisis increasingly black, at least in the short and medium term. On the one hand, the main players in the sector such as Intel, Samsung and TSMC are moving to rethink the production system and get around the difficulties, on the other hand it is a process that takes time and further problems arise in carrying it out. It is not just a question of satisfying increased demand by building new plants and managing the equally pressing crisis in logistics, now the difficulty in finding the equipment that is actually used for the production of semiconductors.
The report by Nikkei which highlights how companies specializing in the supply of machinery for the production of chipssuch as ASML, Lam Research, Applied Materials and KLA, are starting to alert their customers that they may need up to 18 months to receive the devices.
An element to be considered, linked to the increase in demand for chip manufacturing equipment, is the effect on the supply of certain parts without which such devices would not be possible. In fact, components such as technopolymers, precision lenses, valves, pumps, special cables and sensors are lacking. To put this into perspective, a single ASML machine for EUV lithography requires over 100,000 components, from 800 suppliers, for a total cost of up to $ 200 million.
Other useful data to contextualize the situation: at present the waiting times for some KLA products exceed 20 months; Unimicron, a leading chip substrate supplier, confirms that the lead time to receive the equipment it needs now reaches 30 months (12-18 months last year). These are all factors that contribute to slowing down the projects to upgrade the production infrastructures of the giants of the sector.