Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. engages in the design, manufacture, marketing, and servicing of semiconductor processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. It primarily offers ion implantation systems required to build the transistors that are the basis of integrated circuits. The company's products include single wafer VIISta 810XP, VIISta 810HP, VIISta 810XE, and VIISta 900 XP ion implanters for medium current sector VIISta HCP series single wafer ion implanters and VIISta HC ion implanters for high current sector and the high energy VIISta 3000 series that features true zero degree implant and low contamination. It also provides VIISta PLAD, which is a multi-chamber tool and VIISta Platform that offers flexibility in managing overall bay productivity. The company serves semiconductor industry manufacturers primarily in North America, Korea, Japan, Europe, and Taiwan. Equipment Associates was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc.( Varian Semiconductor ) is a supplier of ion implantation equipment used in the fabrication of semiconductor chips. Varian Semiconductor designs, manufactures, markets and services semiconductor processing equipment for virtually all of the major semiconductor manufacturers in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific. The VIISta ion implanter products are designed to leverage single wafer processing technology for the full range of semiconductor implant applications. Varian Semiconductor offers a full range of ion implanters, categorized within the industry as medium current, high current or high energy, based upon the energy characteristics of the tool. Ion implanters are further categorized as 200milimeters (mm) compatible and 200mm or 300mm compatible.
The semi tools industry can be divided into high energy/low current products, medium energy/medium current products and low energy/high current products. The fastest growing category, high current, accounts for 50% of total industry revenue, medium current accounts for about one-third of the total and high energy is about 17%. Varian sells in all spaces, and their tools cross the segments, use common parts and software tools, affording valuable cost saving opportunities.
Ion implementation equipment essentially injects charged Ions (also called dopants) into the wafer during production.
There are 2 major companies that do Ion implementation along with several Japanese firms: Varian Semiconductor (VSEA) and Axcelis (ACLS).
As technology nodes get smaller. (Fall below 90nm) Axcelis batch technology breaks down and destroys some chips, hurts yields. Varian on the other hand uses a double magnet ribbon system which is a single wafer producer. The Varian product (patent protected and pictured above) does not damage the chips and since Axcelis uses batch there is the possibility that all the chips in the batch are destroyed.
Varian’s single wafer fab process simplifies equipment needs and reduces their customer’s cost of ownership, more so than the equipment made by rival Axcelis (ACLS), whose batch technology has been proven to destroy chips at the 90 nm level & lower. As nodes get smaller, Varian’s equipment becomes more critical. The stock is down hard because of Varian’s exposure to memory: mem pricing has gotten slammed and that in turn has pulled down capacity expansion. However, memory won’t be in the gutter forever, especially when you bake in the shift within the semiconductor industry from spending being centered on corporate IT to being centered on consumer demand for rich digital media like cell phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players, all of them gadgets that have become as addictive as caffeine and tobacco.
This is a relatively new problem at smaller technology nodes, but once it was introduced many have gone back and checked old problems only to find out that it may have been a problem at larger nodes as well.