SKC will begin producing blank masks used in semiconductor production in the first quarter of 2021, the company said on Friday.
They will be for the high-end semiconductor market and they were being tested by an unnamed client, the company said. SKC will aim to get certification for commercialization within the year, it said.
The mask will hard masks used in the optical immersion process, which is right before the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) in semiconductor production.
If production begins in the first quarter of 2021, the company expects the business to post 25% to 30% in operating profits from sales.
In April, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it was trialing a blank mask for use in the ArF process. The ministry said the mass will be produced beginning in the second half of 2020.
Blank masks, depending on the wavelength of light it reacts to, come in those used for KrF, 248nm; ArF, 193nm; and EUV, 13.5nm. Those for ArF and EUV are considered high-end.
SKC beginning construction of the mask factory in 2018, spending 43 billion won. The factory was completed last year.
On the outlook of the global semiconductor materials market, SKC said companies in the industry saw earnings slowdown beginning in 2019 due to the trade dispute between the US and China. Uncertainties remained high for the Chinese market, the company said.
SKC will improve the mix of products it offers in ceramic materials, the company said.
The company also began high-value businesses such as chemical-mechanical polishing and blank mask businesses in China.
SK Nexilis, a subsidiary of SKC, as installed equipment with 20% enhanced productivity at its 4th factory, the company said. It will lower cost. In copper foil, the company was unmatched in making them ultra-thin and longer.
The company expects order to increase in the second half of 2020 compared to first despite expansions of Chinese and Taiwanese rivals. The business will maintain its profitability, SK Nexilis said.
SKC posted 49.9 billion won in operating profits and 656.2 billion won in sales in the second quarter. For the first half of 2020, it posted operating profits of 80.1 billion won and sales of 1.3134 trillion won.