Paul van Gerven
20 April

Scrambling to meet exploding demand, ASML is looking for ways to push down the accelerator pedal even further. The system integrator is discussing with its supply chain how many more tools can be delivered in 2025.

ASML, together with its supply chain, is exploring opportunities to ramp up production even further. In response to much higher than previously estimated long-term demand, the equipment manufacturer announced last year that it plans to deliver 1.5 times more DUV systems and two times more 0.33 NA EUV systems by 2025 than originally planned. That would amount to 375 DUV and roughly 70 EUV machines. The new ambition is to raise those numbers to 600 and 90 units, respectively, CFO Roger Dassen said during a video interview discussing the second-quarter results. This year, ASML expects to ship 55 EUV scanners.

In addition to increasing unit shipments, ASML is addressing the wafer capacity shortage by reducing cycle times and increasing scanner productivity, though no new announcements have been made recently for those ambitions. In fact, the specifications of the EUV systems to be introduced in 2023 (the Twinscan NXE:3800E) and 2025 (NXE:4000F) haven’t been released at all.

However, based on a presentation at last year’s investor’s day, ASML is aiming to raise the throughput for the fully-evolved NXE:3800E by as much as 33 percent compared to the close-to-peak performance of its predecessor, the NXE:3600D. The initial throughput of the NXE:4000F would add another 10 percent or so, compared to the NXE:3800E. Along with uptime improvements, chip manufacturers will need significantly fewer EUV tools to reach the capacity they need.

ASML EUV engineers
Credit: ASML

Even if the target can be realized, ASML might still not be able to fully balance EUV demand and supply. According to an analysis by semiconductor consulting firm IC Knowledge, chipmakers will want to buy about 90 EUV tools in 2024. Demand will likely grow beyond 90 tools per year after 2024, thus exceeding ASML’s supply capability.

Financially, ASML may have to revise its longer-term projections. “In light of the demand and our plans to increase capacity, we expect to revisit our scenarios for 2025 and growth opportunities beyond. We plan to communicate updates in the second half of the year,” CEO Peter Wennink said. The current scenario forecasts sales of 24-30 billion euros in 2025, and an average growth of 11 percent per year through 2030. ASML’s revenue last year was 18.6 billion euros.

Really good progress

In the first quarter of 2022, ASML’s sales came in at 3.5 billion euros, significantly lower than the 5.0 billion euros in the final quarter of last year. The reason for this is “fast shipping,” ie expediting deliveries by performing final testing at customer sites instead of in Veldhoven. Because ASML can only recognize revenue when systems are fully qualified, significant amounts of revenue can’t be reported in the quarter the machines were put on transport. ASML shipped nine EUV systems last quarter and recorded revenue for three. The difference will be made up in upcoming quarters.

ASML Q and FY
ASML’s quarterly and full-year revenue from Q1 2019 to Q1 2022.

Q2’s net bookings amounted to 7.0 billion euros, above the 2021 quarterly average of 6.6 billion. At the end of Q1, ASML’s order book added up to 29 billion euros. “If you mirror that against 17 billion euros of systems sales that we expect to see for this year, it gives you an indication of how very, very strong order intake is and how very much covered we already are for 2023,” Dassen pointed out.

Bookings included 2.5 billion euros in EUV systems, both for 0.33 NA and 0.55 NA. Dassen said that 0.55 NA development is “going according to plan. We have orders for high-NA from three customers in logic and from two customers in memory. I’d say that both on the technical side and on the commercial side, really good progress is being made on high-NA.”