Last month, Dalian Linton NC Machine Co. Ltd. opened a more than 70,000 square meter research and design center and manufacturing base in Xishan, Wuxi, China. Linton manufactures Czochralski silicon crystal growers designed by Linton Crystal Technologies, in Rochester, N.Y. The opening of the new facility brings the annual CZ grower equipment production capacity of Linton to more than 2,000 units per year—a critical upsurge at a time when silicon wafer manufacturers need to increase capacity to overcome the global semiconductor chip shortage.
“The completion of this new facility in Wuxi enables us to conduct research, design, and manufacturing of our CZ process growers under one roof, expediting product delivery to customers,” explains Ronald Kramer, director of business development for Linton. “This efficiency is critical to customers who are already producing at full capacity so can only increase production by building out their facilities and bringing new growers online.”
With the rise of COVID-related shutdowns worldwide last year, there was an unusually high demand for new personal computers, laptops, Smart TVs, computer games and consoles, and other consumer electronics. As people moved to work-from-home and were simply stuck at home, they sought new technology for home offices and classrooms as well as for entertainment. At the same time, the pandemic shut down dominant chip production facilities, putting a strain on the supply. The resulting global shortage in semiconductor chips has slowed auto and consumer electronics production around the world.
With many fabs running at full-capacity and lead times for semiconductors nearing 14 weeks, chip manufacturers are looking to build out their manufacturing capacities to overcome the shortage. For example, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM) the third-party manufacturer of silicon for chip makers such as Apple Inc. AAPL, has announced plans to spend $28 billion to build out its facilities this year.
“Our goal has always been to design CZ growers that will maximize customers’ productivity and efficiency, as well as to help them get the most out of the growers they already own,” says Kramer. “With the opening of our new facility, we will be able to directly address the unique production needs silicon wafer manufacturers have in the face of the shortage.”
The Linton facility in Wuxi represents an investment of more than $432 million U.S dollars. Saws and other wafer processing equipment continue to be manufactured in the facility in Dalian, China, for efficient production of that line as well.
Linton Crystal Technologies is the world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of equipment for producing monocrystalline ingots for the semiconductor and solar industries. The company specializes in silicon and produces equipment for materials such as germanium and gallium arsenide. They also provide technical support, process engineering support, and replacement parts to help clients get businesses off the ground, improve productivity and continue to innovate.