South Korean semiconductor equipment maker APTC has successfully commercialized a new polysilicon etching kit called LEO WH, the company said on Wednesday.
A new etching kit called NARDO M can be used to not only etch polysilicon but metal layers has also been commercialized, the company said.
Both equipment has wrapped up their performance review and has been supplied to SK Hynix, APTC said.
Earlier this week, APTC said it had clinched a 41 billion won equipment supply deal with SK Hynix. The amount is equal to 69.19% of its sales in 2019. Its equipment LEO NK-IC was also supplied along with its new two equipment.
LEO WH is a polysilicon etching equipment. APTC said it has increased reliability and precision compared to its predecessor LEO NK-IC. The electrostatic checks has been expanded to 18 zones from the previous four zones. APTC said LEO WH’s performance was level to that of Lam Research’s polysilicon etching equipment. WH is named after the initials of APTC CEO Choi Woo-hyung. LEO WH will be used in SK Hynix’s NAND flash production line. It is also being tested to be used in the South Korean memory maker’s DRAM line.
APTC is expected to supply more equipment as SK Hynix is planning to expand its NAND business through acquisition of Intel’s NAND unit.
APTC’s NARDO M is being supplied for SK Hynix’s DRAM line.
The global etching equipment maker is dominated by Lam Research, Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron. The three controlled over 80% market share in 2019. APTC is competing with Lam Research and Applied Materials. Tokyo Electron only produces oxide etching equipment and isn’t a competitor.
South Korean memory makers will welcome APTC’s development of a locally produced etching kit as it gives them more leverage in dealings with oversea equipment makers.
APTC is expected to post 80 billion won in sales this year, according to South Korea analysts. This will be a 40% growth from last year. Analysts expect the company to post 150 billion won in sales in 2021.
APTC last year set-up an office in Silicon Valley to win over US memory companies. The company is planning to expand sales activity once the COVID-19 pandemic settles down.
APTC and Semes are the only South Korean companies making etching equipment.