Towa, a chip tool maker based in Kyoto, has announced its anticipation of receiving a substantial order for machines used in the production of high-bandwidth memory (HBM) chips from major South Korean chipmakers. The company's President and CEO, Hirokazu Okada, indicated that they are expecting more than 20 machine orders from South Korean chipmakers by the end of the fiscal year. While the specific customers were not disclosed, it is believed that this order is primarily for HBM solutions, which are essential components in artificial intelligence computing.
This significant order represents a pivotal development for Towa, as the company has typically only sold one or two of these specific machines annually until now. HBM, a type of memory that enables rapid data transmission, is becoming increasingly critical in the context of growing demand for AI processors.
Towa's expertise lies in chip molding machines, which enable the packaging of chips and their substrates with resin. The company's precision control of fluids ensures that the resin uniformly covers the chip without any gaps, crucial for preventing moisture-related malfunctions. This level of precision and technological capability has positioned Towa as a major player in the global market, with an estimated 60% market share.
The trend towards integrating different types of chips in one package and stacking them together to create more powerful chip systems plays to Towa's strengths. As miniaturization of semiconductors reaches technological limits, the demand for precise molding technologies for stacked chips is expected to rise. Towa's high-end machines are well-suited for this purpose, given their ability to manage complex chip shapes and jagged edges, and to precisely handle gaps as small as 5 micrometers.
The company's stock price has seen a significant increase, rising by 359% from January last year, reflecting the positive sentiment and market recognition of Towa's technological capabilities and potential for growth.