Expert's Panel

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    What is the typical capital equipment product development time?

  1. I had a company that spent 8 years and $32-million to develop a product they never got to the market because they couldn't handle the engineering tasks in front of them. I've worked at a company with what should have been a 4 year product development plan crammed into 2 years that didn't make it. I've talked to enough of my colleagues at Applied, KLA and LAM. They believe they need to develop a product in 2 – 3 years. I challenge anybody to show me they have done it.
  2. Several of our people spent time consulting with a company that is a perfect example of this. From the time they got the money and started drawing until they established a BETA site was about 2 years. That's just the BETA site. I don't think it is less than 2 years. and you can't afford for it to be 5 years. You can do R&D for 5 years out, but if you're doing a product you better have that in at least a 3-4 year window. It's taking 2 – 3 years now for almost anything.
  3. (in response to audience question) Development cycles and business cycles are totally out of synch with each other. The SIA roadmap as a guide is going to get more people in trouble than any other guideline. You have to worry about going from point A to B to C. A lot of people are saying let's skip ahead to point M, N and O. 300mm is an example. A lot of people looked at these roadmaps and believed them. The roadmap said that in the years 1999-2000, ten to twenty percent of the wafers being processed are going to be 300mm. It got on the roadmap because Motorola came in, banged its fist on the desk, and said they had to have it by that date—it was a big fake.
  4. Here's the trick, you can't say I'm going to leapfrog. If you don't have technical presence in generation n+1, what is your credibility that you are going to do n+2? You have to walk the roadmap step by step. Several companies come to mind. They looked at the shrink roadmap and said we need to skip ahead and make deep UV resist and put all their R&D money in that direction for .13 and .15. Their competitors were selling $100-millions of photoresist that is the old style because these guys skipped that generation. You have to walk the roadmap.