ASML will ship the first pilot tool of its next product line in 2023 – CEO

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – ASML will ship the first pilot tool of its next product line as planned this year, said Peter Wennink, CEO of the semiconductor equipment maker, despite some delays at suppliers.

The High NA EUV machines, which are truck-sized and will cost more than €300 million each, are needed by top chipmakers to help them make smaller, better chips in the coming decade.

ASML, Europe’s largest technology company, dominates the market for lithography, a key step in the chip manufacturing process that uses focused beams of light to create circuits.

“Some suppliers had some difficulties actually ramping up and also providing us with the right level of technological quality, which caused some delay,” Wennink told Reuters.

“But in fact the first delivery will take place later this year,” he added in an interview at an event in Eindhoven on Monday.

Only TSMC, Intel, Samsung and memory chip makers SK Hynix and Micron use ASML’s current flagship product: regular EUV or extreme ultraviolet lithography tools that are the size of a bus and cost more than $200 million each.

Under pressure from the USA, the Dutch government does not issue ASML licenses for the export of EUV tools to Chinese chip manufacturers.

Like a camera, the High NA (High Numerical Aperture) tool collects light from a wider angle, providing up to 70% better resolution, even though the ASML tool uses a mirror system instead of a lens.

Customers will experiment with High NA EUV before bringing it into commercial production, with logic chip makers needing tooling sooner than memory chip makers.

Separately, Wennink confirmed that in 2023 ASML will generate more dollar sales from its previous generation “DUV” machines than from EUV machines. ASML forecasts sales growth of 30% this year, due in part to strong demand from Chinese customers for the older machines.

Wennink said this is likely to reverse in 2024 as new chip fabs in Arizona and Taiwan are poised to receive and take advantage of EUV tools amid booming demand for high-end AI chips.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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