As a way to avoid semiconductor shortages and supply chain crises in the future, companies and governments across the world are pouring billions of dollars to manufacture semiconductor chips on their own. The silicon industry faced a massive difficulty to cope with the surge in demand for things powered by semiconductors, including electronics, cars, and other gadgets, in the ongoing pandemic. However, now they are facing another significant shortage.
Companies like Intel, Samsung, and even TSMC have planned their ways to accelerate semiconductor manufacturing. However, since companies are now looking for equipment to produce chips, it has resulted in a shortage of chip-making equipment. According to a report from Nikkei, specialized chip tool manufacturers like ASML, Lam Research, Applied Materials, and KLA have warned their clients that they might have to wait for up to 18 months to receive critical equipment needed for semiconductor manufacturing.
The higher demand for chip-making tools has led to a shortage of everything - from engineering plastics to precision lenses, valves, pumps, special cables, sensors, and a lot more. A single EUV lithography machine which is made by ASML requires over 100,000 components from more than 800 global suppliers and costs up to $200 million.
Not only ASML but KLA is also affected by the supply chain crisis. Wait times for some of its products are now more than 20 months. The world's largest supplier of chip substrates, Unimicron, says that the equipment deliveries it desperately needs now have lead times of up to 30 months instead of 12-18 months estimated last year.