For years, IC chip makers have been in love with "bigger" and "more"--bigger wafers holding more chips, and then manufacturing the wafers in batches to yield still more chips. Alas, this love affair is over, for chip makers have learned that their push for more can quickly lead to a glut of chips, especially during the turbulent times of the last few years.
The favored approach now is to put a brake to all that chip making. Instead, at an increasing number of fabrication houses, production equipment is turning out just a single wafer at a time. Done properly, such single-wafer manufacturing not only leads to lower inventories, but to lower costs and faster throughput and time to market.
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