Building a Better Future After a Year of Surprising Growth and Rising Demand

The new year is always a wonderful time to take a deep breath, hold it and reflect on the past 12 months while planning for the year ahead. In the semiconductor industry, we have never seen a year like 2021, one with so many surprises combined with so much growth.

In 2021 we saw semiconductor manufacturing expansions accelerate across the value chain. Advanced logic was especially pronounced, with leaders seeing the opportunity to serve the growing market for high-performance compute or hyperscalers to power artificial intelligence (AI) engines in a wide range of applications. But 2021 will be remembered for broad demand growth, with 5G adoption in mobile handsets and base stations continuing to double each year. This drove a strong surge in the introduction rate of next-generation mobile handsets, which ushered in higher demand for camera chips, power, and memory.

In addition, the industry managed through national concerns about semiconductor technology challenges from the ongoing pandemic, and, as a result of the sharp increase in demand, a worldwide supply chain shortage of chips compounded by logistics challenges around the globe.

Against this backdrop, companies like Onto Innovation will see a growth of 40% year over year, and demand is continuing to rise in 2022. All the drivers are the same for the new year as in 2021, but we also see an increased focus on compound semiconductor devices, particularly for power devices supporting the global emphasis on transitioning from the 130-year-old combustion engine to electric vehicles (EVs) and the world’s critical need for smarter power grids that allow more renewable energy sources to come online. Along with that, we project higher levels of investment in heterogeneous packaging technology for 2022 to support the next generation of AI engines and high-performance integrated modules, such as those for 5G communication.

But there will be challenges as well. The pandemic remains with us. Although logistics should begin to improve, supply chain challenges due to chip shortages will likely take longer to resolve, and we have inflationary pressures that are creating challenges for companies on several levels.  However, as we have demonstrated in the last two years, this is a very resilient industry made of companies staffed by passionate, talented, and creative people that work together across company boundaries to make the impossible possible. It’s what we do.

Onto Innovation is proud to play an increasingly more important role in our industries’ success and contributions to a better world. That improvement is not just in the products we enable, it’s in our efforts to work in our communities to create opportunities to introduce under-represented groups to the fields of science and technology at an early age. It means ensuring we have flexible workplace policies that enable people of all backgrounds to be their best when they have different demands and pressures.

In the end, our success as a company is directly attributable to the successes of the individuals who make up our team. At Onto Innovation, our employees are our competitive advantage. We look forward to seeing our company, the industry, and the world grow to meet a better future in 2022 and beyond.

Mike Plisinski

Michael Plisinski is the chief executive officer at Onto Innovation. He has 25 years of semiconductor…

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