CMOS image sensor manufacturing to grow 13 percent in 2022
Knometa Research expects global manufacturing capacity for image sensors to climb steadily at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5 percent over the next five years.
This is due to demand for multiple cameras in smartphones, automobiles, robotics and industrial applications.
In December 2021 the installed capacity was one million 200mm-equivalent wafers per month. This is expected to increase 13 percent in 2022. By the end of 2026 the manufacturing capacity will be 1.8 million 200mm-equivalent wafers per month.
Sony in Japan is the world’s leading CMOS image sensor supplier although the combines CMOS image sensor manufacturing capacity of Samsung and SK Hynix made South Korea the largest geographical supplier at the end of 2021.
Having dominated the cell phone market Sony is aiming to become the largest supplier of CMOS image sensors for automotive systems and it is pursuing machine vision applications in factory automation and drones as well as image-recognition security cameras. Sony also sells 3D imaging sensors for depth ranging, face recognition, artificial intelligence, and machine vision.
Sony was the first to manufacture image sensors on 300mm wafers. The company has continued expanding its CIS capacity by converting 300mm fabs from logic to image sensor production and by acquiring 300mm fabs from other companies in Japan looking to exit the business of fabricating ICs. Sony has eight 300mm fab lines at four sites in Japan, with the newest being Fab 5 in Nagasaki. Fab 5 started mass production in 2021 and the construction of an expansion is already underway.
Samsung entered the CMOS image sensor business to diversify its business beyond DRAM and NAND flash. Since the fabrication technologies and tool sets for CIS devices are similar to that of DRAM, Samsung repurposed older DRAM fabs to begin making image sensors. The company became the industry’s second largest supplier of image sensors by serving most of the camera module needs of its own huge cellphone business. Samsung’s image sensor production exists primarily at a large 300mm fab facility in Hawseong, South Korea.
SK Hynix has used the same strategy of turning older DRAM fabs into capacity for CMOS image sensors but lacks the benefit of having another related SK Hynix operation to buy its CIS devices. The company has a small but growing share of the global image sensor market.
The industry’s third largest supplier of image sensors is OmniVision but it relies on external foundries for the fabrication of its CIS wafers. OmniVision’s primary sources of foundry capacity are TSMC in Taiwan and SMIC and HLMC in China.
Related links and articles: