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The industry has fallen into a vicious circle: a shortage of microcircuits hinders the increase in the output of equipment for the production of microcircuits

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The shortage of microcircuits, which was the first and most acutely felt by automakers, is known to cover all new industries. According to the source, the wave has reached those who largely depend on when it will be possible to cope with the deficit. We are talking about the manufacturers of the equipment necessary for the production of the microcircuits themselves. In other words, a vicious circle has formed: the shortage of the microcircuits themselves hinders the increase in the output of equipment for the production of microcircuits.

Nikkei Asia has learned that delivery times for some critical instruments have increased to 12 months or more, stalling plans to expand capacity by chip makers, packaging and testing service providers, and substrate suppliers. Global component shortages are already affecting some of the world’s largest chip buyers, including Apple and Samsung Electronics.

According to industry sources, at least four types of vital manufacturing equipment are in short supply. In particular, these are machines for welding wire conductors between crystals and leads during packaging. Their main supplier is the Singapore company Kulicke & Soffa. The waiting period for such machines has increased to 10-12 months.

The waiting time for die cutting machines is 5 to 8 months. For comparison: before the crisis, it was 1-3 months. The main supplier of this equipment is Disco of Japan.

The delivery time of machines for testing microcircuits has increased. Their main suppliers are Advantest (Japan) and Teradyne (USA).

Finally, Mitsubishi Electric, a leading manufacturer of laser drilling machines for printed circuit boards and chip substrates, has warned customers that lead times for some models are already over 12 months.

In addition, travel restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19 are negatively impacted. They complicate the delivery and installation of equipment.

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