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Growing automation in the electronics and semiconductor industry has witnessed significant advancement over a period of time. As the market is witnessing the growth and the adoption of automation, the integration of robotics will predominantly impact the market in the upcoming years. Since the introduction of robotics, the photomask market has been gaining traction among the end-user applications. Robot integration helps in providing a plan for automation, analyzing the system needs, and put the automation in production. The integration of robotics is a way towards automation in the industries, peripherals and assembling machinery into a single frame and work as one unit. It also enables the industrial robots to perform a specific manufacturing task, bring down the expenses, decrease the cycle time, and enhance the quality of the product. Additionally, the adoption of robotics and automation across various end-use applications such as smart manufacturing are growing substantially. Technological advancements along with growing automation in the semiconductor industry are fueling up the growth of the photomask market. Consequently, in 2018, the global photomask market size evaluated to be $3.78 billion and the demand is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

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According to the SEMI, the total semiconductor photomask sales recorded at $4.04 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $4.2 billion by the end of 2020. Photomask market is experiencing this increase in the sales due to the development of chips coupled with high circuit density, however, the density of the chips is being referred to the number of transistors built into a single chip.

Increasing Technological Advancements Offering Profitable Growth Opportunities

The rising technological advancement is boosting the growth of the photomask market in the semiconductor industry. For transferring circuits and display patterns, the photomask companies are adopting lithography techniques which are surging up the growth of the global photomask market. Additionally, another trend that has flourished amongst the photomask market companies is the short replacement cycle with the rise in the disposable income, which has subsequently spur the sales of consumer electronics.

APAC Holding a Significant Share in Global Market

Moreover, APAC dominated the global photomask market with a regional share of 33% in 2018 with China and South Korea being the leading country. These two countries are witnessing huge demand for semiconductor components. Additionally, the Chinese government has also taken initiatives to increase the domestic production of ICs and to encourage development in the domestic semiconductor industry. Thus, the growing need for photomasking is being fulfilled with a massive production of the ICs in the country.

Furthermore, the photomask market is also growing traction because of the high demand for printed circuit boards. As every new set of circuit diagrams require a newer set of the photomask, the demand for the same is continuously rising and has emerged as the key market application segment. This segment is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5% through to 2025.

Competitive Landscape

The photomask market consists of several major players with high competition. Many companies are introducing new products in order to increase their market presence or entering into strategic mergers and acquisition, joint ventures, and partnerships. The key players dominating the global photomask market are Toppan Photomasks, HTA Photomask, Dai Nippon, KLA-Tencor Corporation, Heidelberg Instruments, HOYA Corporation, LG Innotek Co., Ltd., Nippon Filcon Co., Ltd., Compugraphics Photomask Solutions, and Lasertec Corporation.

Heidelberg Launched ULTRA Semiconductor

In October 2018, Heidelberger Instruments, a global leader in the design, development, and manufacturing of complex laser based maskless lithography systems, launched the ULTRA semiconductor laser mask writer. It is considered to be the most economical solution for the manufacturing of photomask with 150 nm design node. The product is ideal to address multiple applications in the semiconductor industry, with its minimum feature size, excellent overlay, high throughput, CD uniformity, and 2nd layer alignment.

KLA- Tenor Acquires Orbotech Ltd

In March 2018The KLA- Tenor, a global capital equipment company, announced an agreement to acquire Orbotech Ltd. With this acquisition KLA-Tenor will have a huge increase in its revenue of $2.5 billion for an addressable market opportunity in the printed circuit board, packaging, flat panel display and semiconductor manufacturing areas. Additionally, KLA-Tenor will acquire Orbotech for $38.86 in cash and 0.25 of share in exchange every KLA Tenor ordinary share of Orbotech, with a total consideration of $69.02 per share. This acquisition is expected to be consistent with the company strategies to sustain profitable growth by further expansion into adjacent markets. This will further have a positive impact on the growth of the photomask market.

DNP and Photronics Inc., Ventures for Semiconductor Photomask

Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd (DNP) completed its incorporation formalities for a joint venture with Phototronics Inc. in 2018. The objective of the JV is to establish China-based semiconductor photomask sales and manufacturing. China is expected to show significant growth with approximately 20% of global production capacity by 2020. DNP and Phototronics have strategized to expand its production through localized production. The partners have announced to invest $160 million over the next five years and construct a new plant in Xiamen City. This will perhaps increase the supply of photomask to fulfill the rising demand in the country.

Toppan Printing Introduced Leading-Edge Photomask Equipment

In 2018, Toppan Photomasks Inc., photomask manufacturer, announced an additional investment to be made in new leading-edge equipment for mass production of the advanced photomask in a facility at Toppan Photomask Company Limited, Shanghai. The leading-edge equipment installation began in April 2018 with an initial production of 65/55 photomasks. The company is also planning to begin the fabrication of 28nm and 14nm photomasks in the first half of 2019.

Bruker Acquires RAVE LLC

Bruker Corporation, an American manufacturer of scientific instruments, acquired the semiconductor mask repair and cleaning business RAVE LLC, an advanced photomask repair equipment company in 2018. The new business has built a powerful status due to its comprehensive portfolio of laser and nanoprobe-based photomask repair equipment along with CO2 cryo-cleaning technology for water and photomask applications. Since the acquisition, the newly acquired business has been running profitably and has earned a revenue of approximately $25 million. The amalgamation of Bruker’s probe control technology and automated AFM proprietary imaging with RAVE’s core nanomachining technology has given an immense range of potentiality to support the latest advancements that are being made by the semiconductor customers.

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