Canon will call ASML – the company will release chips with advanced lithography but no EUV

Canon will call ASML – the company will release chips with advanced lithography but no EUV

Japanese Canon is developing a new generation of lithographic equipment for the production of semiconductors, which can compete with Dutch ASML products, which is virtually monopolistic in the market for such solutions, and the construction of a new plant in Japan will also respond to the investment of competitors in the relevant field in the United States, South Korea and Taiwan.

The investment is expected to be $345 million, including the cost of construction and installation of production equipment. The plant will start production as early as spring 2025. As a result, the company will double its production capacity in this niche. The company will not only expand production, but also bet on new technologies that will allow the production of new generation semiconductors at low prices. It is now producing lithographic equipment at two factories in Japan, which is used to produce chips, such as car control systems.

The new plant will be built on an area of 70,000 m2 on the territory of the existing production, the first new lithographic production plant built by Canon in 21 years, which will start in 2023; sales of lithographic equipment are expected to grow by 29% per year to 180 machines, four times more than 10 years ago, and the new plant will meet growing demand in 2022.

According to World Semiconducor Trade Statistics, last year the world market for semiconductors exceeded $500 billion for the first time in history, and industry expects it to exceed $1 trillion in 2030. Today, Canon controls 30% of the world market for lithographic equipment by volume, leaving only the ASML, which accounts for 60%. Intel and Taiwan Semi-Conductor Manufacturing Co. announced plans to build their own new factories in the US and other countries.

The company has also developed the next generation technology called nanoimprint lithography, which allows for the production of the most advanced chips at lower prices than the existing lithographic equipment. The process has been simplified by a method that literally "stamps" the drawings of integrated circuits, thereby significantly reducing the cost of production, with Japanese Kioxia and Dai Nippon Pring participating in the development of the technology.

Today, the most indispensable technology is the EUV-litography technology for nanometre mapping. The only source of such technology today is the Dutch ASML. However, such equipment is expensive, costs about $138 million per car and consumes a lot of energy. If nanoimprinting reaches the point of practical commercial use, Canon calculates that the cost of lithography will be reduced to 40% and energy consumption to 90% compared to the EUV. This will make it possible to shake with ASML's dominance in the market.