Japan’s Canon Says Interest in New Chipmaking Tools Exceed Expectations

REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo
woman walks past the logo of Japanese manufacturer of optical and imaging equipment Canon at one of it’s service centres in Tokyo, Japan, March 10, 2016.

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Canon said on Tuesday that early interest in its new lithography chipmaking machines is exceeding expectations as it makes a major push to close the gap with Dutch company.

ASML has become Europe’s most valuable tech company with its extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines, which use beams of light to create circuitry and are employed by TSMC and Intel to create cutting-edge chips.

In October, Canon unveiled its new nanoimprint lithography machines, which stamp circuit patterns directly onto wafers. The company emphasizes the low cost and low power consumption of the tools, with their prospects a topic of industry debate.

While it is too early to say when the machines will contribute to Canon sales, “there has been a bigger response than we expected,” Minoru Asada, head of Canon’s finance and accounting headquarters, told reporters.

The company aims to roll out the machines for production of memory chips before expanding to other areas, Asada said.

Canon expects to sell 247 of its existing lithography machines in the financial year ending December compared to 187 units a year earlier, boosted by demand for power chips and graphics processing units (GPU) for artificial intelligence tasks.