November 23, 2022
  • November 23, 2022

Rangesh Raghavan of equipment manufacturer Wafer Fab Lam Research

By on June 13, 2022 0

India is committed to carving out a place for itself on the global semiconductor map. This is evident from several statements and milestones over a period of time, including the recently concluded SemiconIndia 2022 conference, held in Bangalore from April 29 to May 1, 2022 with the overall aim of “catalyzing the semiconductor ecosystem from India”.

In light of India’s semiconductor push, swarajya donor Arun Mampazhy corresponded by e-mail with Lam Research’s Rangesh Raghavan to learn more about his company’s work within the semiconductor ecosystem. He highlighted the expertise of Lam Research in general and its activities in India in particular.

Lam Research is a wafer fabrication equipment and service provider for the semiconductor industry. Rangesh Raghavan is Vice President and Managing Director of Lam Research India, a position he has held since February 2020. He was previously Vice President of Strategic Development at Lam. (Learn more about Raghavan after the interview)

Here are the excerpts:

If I look at the key equipment needed in a semiconductor wafer processing plant, perhaps at a high level, they fall into six categories: photolithography, etching, diffusion or implantation, deposition or growth, chemical-mechanical polishing and finally metrology. Which of these are the strongest areas for Lam?

Lam Research provides innovative wafer fabrication equipment and services to the semiconductor industry. Lam offers offerings in four vital processes: deposition, etching, wafer cleaning and pickling. We complement this with an outstanding range of services and support that we provide to customers.

Within these steps there is a range of applications because manufacturing a semiconductor device means you have to deposit a wide range of materials, both insulators and conductors. Similarly, to create the patterns that define the circuits, you must also etch or remove these materials. So while it sounds very simple to say we do things like etching, depositing and cleaning, within those definitions we provide a broad portfolio of products that address specific applications for our customers. .

Our technology leadership and innovation in these areas, particularly in etching and deposition, are key enablers of new chip technology advancements.

Besides these six broad categories I’ve listed, what other important types of equipment or supply chain elements or services for semiconductor fabs does Lam supply globally?

In addition to providing deposition, etching, stripping and cleaning equipment, we provide a range of services to our customers.

Process control is an important capability today because it allows our customers to use our equipment more effectively and efficiently. There is a range of products under the process control umbrella that we offer. Our suite of Equipment IntelligenceTM software and hardware solutions provides customers with an unparalleled ability to control process performance with precision and accuracy.

We also provide customers with a large number of after-sales services. This support can take the form of spare parts, for example, or services such as maintenance and upgrade services. We help our customers who are looking to upgrade to the next generation of solid state devices by selling them the upgrade kit needed to change the machine from one configuration to another.

And to complement our offerings, the business group that supports older, more established technologies and chip nodes with the best products for their needs.

In the global scenario, where on the one hand there are many fabs to come which should be good news for WFE vendors, but on the other hand there is also news about the impossibility track orders and supply delays. How is Lam handling this situation and what are her short and long term priorities?

Strong demand for semiconductors, combined with the pandemic, has resulted in supply chain challenges for much of the semiconductor ecosystem in recent years. Lam has worked closely with our partners and suppliers to address these changing dynamics and improve supply chain flexibility where needed to meet our customers’ needs. This includes a wide range of activities in supplier engineering, supply chain management and product management. We have also committed the necessary financial resources and manpower both to meet the priority needs of our customers in the short term and to increase the long-term resilience of our global supply network.

Let me focus a bit on India. Can you explain to us the history of Lam Research in India, when and how it started, what is the current status in terms of employees (number as well as percentage of global strength), locations and all that which might be relevant?

Our Lam India team plays a key role in driving software and hardware engineering innovation, global operations and analytics for the business. Today, Lam operates in two factories and employs over 1,300 people in Bangalore, India.

Lam opened its Software Development Center, our first facility in India, in 2000. This major research and development (R&D) facility works on the development of sophisticated software used to tune, calibrate and operate wafer manufacturing equipment peak of Lam. Today, our talented engineers are focused on advancing nanotechnology software for next-generation semiconductor manufacturing.

In 2007 we opened our second R&D center, a hardware engineering center which focuses on the mechanical and electrical design of the equipment itself. Here, teams of talented engineers work on cutting-edge innovations in robotics, chemistry, heat management and flow management, electrical power distribution, instrumentation and vacuum controls and technology.

In 2013, we further expanded our presence in India to support our global business activities. Today, our Lam India employees support and manage supply chain, logistics, sales sourcing, IT and other strategically important areas. In the past few years alone, our Indian team has also focused on data science, performing analytics, designing data and data structures, and preparing the business for the era of industry 4.0.

Together, Lam’s operations in India contribute significantly to most of the company’s key engineering disciplines and play an important role in serving our customers.

We are also constructing a new engineering, research and development facility in the Bagmane Tech Park (BTP) in Bengaluru. Our investment in this facility will significantly increase Lam’s engineering and R&D capacity and capabilities in India and position us to continue to capitalize on the large regional talent pool. It will function as both a software and hardware engineering lab, allowing our engineers to rapidly prototype and test new designs and innovations while accelerating learning cycles.

Find out more about Raghavan

Raghavan began his career at Texas Instruments in the Advanced Processes R&D group as a thin-film engineer, where his responsibilities later included process integration and technology transfer for logic and memory technologies.

His professional experience includes KLA-Tencor, where he held various marketing and applications roles for over 10 years, and PDF Solutions, a design consultancy for manufacturing.

Raghavan holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology in India and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.