Process control market to grow 9.6% in 2006

For 2006, the process control sector will underperform the semiconductor equipment market, growing 9.6%, compared to an overall growth rate of 15.8% for the industry. Semiconductor yields have reached a level that sampling of wafers is relaxed in 2006, as end users (semiconductor manufacturers) find ways to minimize capital expenditures. The Macro Defect Detection sector is the only bright spot. This sector grew 63% in 2005 compared to a revenue decrease of 1.5% for the overall inspection/metrology market and a 9.5% decrease for the overall front-end equipment market. August Technology led the market with a 32% share, and when combined with Rudolph?s share resulted in a 44% share for the new entity. Unfortunately for the industry, Macro Defect Detection is now overcrowded with vendors and represents a mere 3.3% of the overall metrology/inspection market, The Information Network says.