News Releases

Sumitomo Chemical to Expand Production Capacity for Photoresists for Advanced Semiconductor Processes in its Osaka Works

Feb. 8, 2021

Sumitomo Chemical has decided to expand production capacity for photoresists for advanced semiconductor processes, including ArF (argon fluoride) immersion and EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography, by installing new production lines in its Osaka Works (Konohana-ku, Osaka, Japan). The new production lines are due to commence operation in the first half of fiscal 2022.

Photoresists are light-sensitive resin materials used in semiconductor photolithography processes. Sumitomo Chemical has expanded its photoresist business by establishing refined product designing technology and a quality assurance system based on the organic synthesis technology cultivated in a variety of its fine-chemical businesses, in addition to timely customer relations through the integration of manufacturing, R&D, and sales functions, mainly in the Osaka Works. In particular, photoresists for ArF immersion exposure, mainly used in the miniaturization process, has a large market share in the world because of its superior performance and quality stability. The company expects to increase shipments of photoresists for EUV exposure, which serves as a new light source, in accordance with the mass production schedule of promising customers planning to adopt it, while also advancing development to meet miniaturization demand in order to steadily obtain new orders for EUV photoresists. In fiscal 2019, the company set up a new manufacturing plant for advanced photoresists. In addition, the company decided to construct a new building equipped with clean rooms and install new evaluation equipment in fiscal 2019 to improve its development efficiency and quality assurance system for photoresists. The amount of investment over the past three years has exceeded 10 billion yen. A part of these actions in the supply system was selected as a project subject to “Promoting Investment in Japan to Strengthen Supply Chains” by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The semiconductor device market has been growing in recent years, driven by demand for 5G smartphones and increased demand for personal computers and data center-related equipment, amid lifestyle changes, including teleworking. Against this backdrop, demand for advanced photoresists, such as immersion ArFs, is expected to increase at an annual rate of 6%. For this reason, the company decided to install a new production line to the advanced photoresist plant built in fiscal 2019 and increase the production capacity of the plant by almost four times. Coupling this with the construction of a new building (due to be completed in the first half of fiscal 2022) to strengthen its development and evaluation structure, the company intends to dramatically expand its business in the next Corporate Business Plan of fiscal 2022-2024. The company expects continued growth in the semiconductor market, backed by faster and higher capacity of data communication. As this will cause the tightening of its production capacity around 2025, the company will consider further strengthening of its systems in view of long-term demand.

Sumitomo Chemical positions Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as one of the key areas in its Corporate Business Plan. The company continues to expand its entire semiconductor materials business, including photoresists, and contribute to the growth of the semiconductor industry, which is indispensable for achieving smart mobility and a smart society represented by Society 5.0 in Japan.


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