According to Nikkei Asia, the lead time for key semiconductor manufacturing equipment has been extended to a year and a half or more, as unprecedented parts shortages and tight supply chains have battered the semiconductor equipment industry.

The report mentioned that semiconductor equipment manufacturers such as Applied Materials, KLAC, Lam Research, and ASML have warned customers that some key machines must wait up to 18 months, because most parts are in short supply, including lenses, valves and pumps, microcontrollers , engineering plastics and electronic modules, etc.

At the same time, demand from chip makers has surged. TSMC, UMC, Intel and Samsung Electronics all plan to ramp up production, some of which will start as early as next year, and they are starting to worry that long equipment lead times will affect those plans.

The report pointed out that before the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2019, the average lead time of equipment was about 3 to 4 months, and in 2021, it was 10 to 12 months. According to industry sources, the current waiting time for KLAC testing equipment is more than 20 months. The chairman of Unimicron, the world's largest maker of chip substrates, said delivery of equipment used to make the substrates could take up to 30 months, compared with 12 to 18 months last year.