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Product
Innovation

We enable
our customers
to reach
new heights.
Goal* Status Progress to date
Goal*: 83% of customers by revenue set science-based targets Status: Progress to date:
  • This goal was set in 2021 and progress will be reported in our 2022 report

Goals and highlights

2021 highlights

  • Funded research collaborations at 23 universities in five countries through our Unlock Ideas program
  • Launched the Elevate Ideas program to accelerate product innovation
  • Hosted our Engineering & Technology Conference Virtual Experience for more than 1,200 Lam technical community members
In 2021, we continued to deliver smarter and faster solutions that increase value, lower environmental impact, enhance product safety, and extend product life.

In a market that demands ongoing innovation, big ideas are priceless. From initial product design to installation, we positively impact worldwide technology development by thinking critically, challenging assumptions, and defying conventions. In turn, we help our customers achieve what was once thought impossible.

We develop products and solutions with the belief that business success includes making a positive impact on society and the planet. For us, that means that environmental impact and social responsibility inform our product design and research and development, and that we accelerate innovation through collaboration. In 2021, we continued to deliver smarter and faster solutions that increase value, lower environmental impact, enhance product safety, and extend product life.

When it comes to sustainable product performance, our net zero strategy pushes us even further. Through it, we intend to accelerate the integration of environmental considerations into the design, manufacturing, delivery, and performance of our products to help us meet our carbon reduction goals.

Relevant SDGs

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth SDG 13: Climate Action

Power of innovation

Unleashing the power of innovation
together for a better world

What we do

Lam products and services are a catalyst for progress. We enable:

Computers and phones
that connect us

Electric vehicles that support
the transition to cleaner,
renewable energy sources

Smart cities that
operate efficiently and
improve quality of life

Critical medical devices
and technologies that
save lives

Energy efficient cloud
computing servers

How we do it

Our vast range of products and solutions include:

Deposition
  • Metal Films
  • Dielectric Films
  • Film Treatmen
Strip & Clean
  • Wet Clean
  • Dry Plasma Clean
Customer Support
  • Service
  • Spares
  • Upgrades
  • Reliant Systems™
  • Training
Etch
  • Conductor Etch
  • Dielectric Etch
  • Through-Silicon
    Via (TSV) Etch
  • Selective Etch
Advanced Equipment
and Process Control
  • Mass Metrology
  • Integration Modeling Software

Focus on innovation

We focus on innovation

We drive semiconductor breakthroughs that define the next generation. In relentless pursuit of this mission, we continuously innovate and connect technologies—artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing, big data, and others—to power more productive, responsive, and connected devices and solutions. We hold ourselves to the highest standards and reliability so that when we do what’s never been done, we don’t stop until we ensure success is achievable and repeatable at scale.

Inspiring an innovation culture

There’s no innovation without experimentation, and breakthroughs aren’t often achieved alone. When we innovate, we drive value, for ourselves and for our customers. We achieve this through:

  • Significant investments in R&D
  • A culture that embraces innovation and teamwork
  • Programs and initiatives designed to inspire new ideas and ways of working
  • Close, strategic collaborations with our customers, universities, and other stakeholders

In 2021, we launched a campaign to celebrate our employees’ innovation successes and show that innovation is everyone’s business. This campaign featured 35 stories that included 71 Lam employees from around the world. Select stories are featured as “Innovation Spotlights” within this report.

Annual R&D spend

19%
increase from FY20 to FY21

Bar chart showing our Annual R&D spend from the 2019 fiscal year through the 2021 fiscal year

Note: Unless noted as fiscal year (FY), all the data in this report refers to the calendar year.

Enabling Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 (i4.0) is a new phase in the industrial revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. Even more so than the previous revolutions, i4.0 is transforming the way people live and work. Industries ranging from medicine to transportation to agriculture are reaping the benefits of machine intelligence.

With each industrial revolution, the rate of change has increased. At Lam, we don’t just witness this speed: we enable it.

To continue this transformation, the semiconductor industry must rapidly innovate. We need to move faster to design equipment, develop processes, and increase production yields. Lam is meeting these imperatives. Our i4.0 Steering Committee, led by our chief technology officer (CTO) and leaders across our business, guides the implementation of i4.0 across Lam. The committee focuses on strategic initiatives involving the connectivity of data, optimized workflows across the entire supply chain, human-machine interfaces, and intelligent systems that will create more time for people to focus on innovation.

Higher productivity, lower footprint

We strive to be the partner of choice for supporting our customers’ ESG goals. Two recent innovations that deliver on this objective include Dry Resist and the Sense.i product family.

  • Dry Resist uses dry photoresist technology to deliver significant improvement in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography resolution, productivity, and yield. By using five to ten times fewer chemicals and half as much energy to create the same result, Dry Resist saves resources and costs customers less.
  • The Sense.i™ product family increases energy efficiency by enabling customers to reduce the radio frequency power used by 10% to 20% for each wafer etched. Using less material is also significant: with new design and advanced manufacturing approaches, we eliminate 15,000 pounds of aluminum raw material per Sense.i™ tool, the equivalent of 1.5 million pounds of aluminum per year. Its vertical design results in less space per tool within a fab, creating the potential for a smaller factory footprint.

Innovation Spotlight

Bundle up: Redesigned cables streamline a tedious task

While attending a training at our Tualatin, Oregon facility, Lohith Shetty—a mechanical designer from Lam India—noticed process module cables being installed one-by-one. Deciding that time-consuming task needed an upgrade, he developed a prototype of a new cable bundling tool. Used during the design process, the tool groups cables by routing path and signal while preparing them for manufacturers. Lam teams receive the bundles ready to install, cutting time by 40 percent while improving accuracy.

Sustainability drives product innovation

Our ambition to drive breakthroughs comes to life with our net zero goals. We see the transition to a net zero economy as an opportunity to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change while spurring product innovation and creating competitive advantage for Lam, and most importantly generating new value for our customers.

Critical to achieving this vision is designing our products with climate action in mind. At 62%, the majority of our total greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint lies in the product-use phase, so further integrating energy efficiencies and carbon reductions into product design and engineering processes while building on previous green accomplishments is critical.

Vahid Vahedi
senior vice president
and general manager
etch business unit

“We believe there is a lot to uncover at the intersection of innovation and product sustainability. We actively collaborate with our customers to identify the high value opportunities that reduce the environmental impact of
our tools and support a more
sustainable semiconductor
industry.”

Currently, our approach to reducing energy use is twofold: productivity improvements (reducing the amount of energy consumed in making each wafer) and pure energy savings (building our equipment with more energy-efficient heaters, radio frequency power sources, and other components). In 2021, we introduced new and also improved etch products to deliver:

  • Up to 15% improved generator efficiency on several toolsets for NAND and foundry logic
  • 30% to 50% improved clean times via chamber modifications
  • Up to 80% decreased tool usages of helium

Since 2015, we have also achieved a cumulative reduction in energy use of approximately 35% in multiple deposition product lines and a 25% reduction for our EOS® wet clean product lines. Our deposition products have environmental features offering up to 9% energy reduction by adding Eco pump and scrubber modes, optimizing exhaust flows, and adding more efficient chiller options.

The product path to net zero

Lam’s Product Innovation Working Group is developing a net zero roadmap to achieve meaningful energy and GHG emissions reductions while meeting business growth objectives. To inform this roadmap and prioritize top emissions and consumption areas, we are currently conducting a data baseline and assessment of environmental and ESG-related elements in current product designs. In conjunction to establishing our technical roadmap to reach net zero, we also intend to engage with our customers on their own emissions reduction journeys. To that end, we are aiming for 83% of our customers by revenue to set a science-based target by 2025. Read more about Lam’s decarbonization efforts and path to net zero in Business and Governance.

Designing with the planet in mind

We have begun to explore Design for Environment (DfE) and lifecycle assessment methodologies to reduce the environmental impact of our products. In 2021, we conducted a series of workshops focused on:

  • Equipping Lam product designers with the knowledge to discuss the environmental impact of specific products
  • Developing a methodology and tools to quantify environmental improvements and to evaluate past and future product design changes
  • Creating a repeatable environmental impact framework for use on future products

In the future, our product teams will leverage the findings of these workshops as we refine existing products and design new ones.

Leading product safety in our industry

Our product safety engineers ensure that the products and services we deliver are safe for their intended use and meet regulations and standards in the markets we serve.

We also advance product safety best practices in our industry through collaboration with customers and industry peers. Lam helps lead the SEMI Equipment Suppliers group to address new product regulations impacting the industry. For over 20 years, Lam has worked with stakeholders to develop, implement, and continuously improve the SEMI EHS Guidelines for Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment. These standards are broadly used across the semiconductor industry and other industries to minimize hazards related to equipment, facilities, and work environments.

Customer impact

Delivering customer impact

Our customers include leading semiconductor memory, logic, and specialty technology chipmakers. Together, we prove that devices with ever-greater performance are possible. We aren’t satisfied with good enough. We hold ourselves to the highest reliability and quality standards. And we continuously improve to build a competitive edge.

By the end of 2021, our installed
base was approximately

75,000

chambers with a dedicated
service team to maintain those
tools for maximum productivity.

Our commitment to quality

At Lam, we embrace quality. We don’t aim to just meet customer requirements; we strive to exceed their highest expectations. Our Quality Leadership Team, a cross-functional senior management team, drives our design teams to ensure that safety and quality are designed into every product, and that we react quickly for needed improvements to existing products. We are committed to deliver quality through systematic and continuous improvement of our processes. We are also certified under ISO 9001, an international standard that provides a framework for an effective quality management system.

Elements of our Customer Support Business Group (CSBG) strategy
Service

Customized service and software solutions that enhance productivity throughout the product lifecycle.

Spares

High-quality, low-defect consumable and non-consumable spare parts designed to balance performance, availability, and cost of operation.

Upgrades

Technology and productivity upgrades that increase productivity, reliability, and efficiency and reduce lifecycle costs.

Reliant™ Systems

High-performance new and refurbished tools at 200 mm and 300 mm that allow customers to extend the productive life of fabs, increasing production capacity while decreasing waste.

Trainings

Technical training that develops customer knowledge and technical expertise through expert instruction and training courses for both hardware and software.

Enabling customer success

To help our customers succeed, we must meet their needs today while anticipating what they’ll need tomorrow. CSBG provides solutions throughout the equipment lifecycle that help customers improve productivity and get the most out of their capital investments. Enabling customers to extend the life of their existing equipment is an important aspect of the CSBG strategy. We do this by offering spares, upgrades, and product refurbishment, as well as Advanced Services that combine tool data, software, and expertise to help optimize tools beyond the process results they deliver.

Extending the value of our products

Enhanced productivity. Extended product lifetimes. Our customers expect it, and we deliver. CSBG provides refurbished previous-generation equipment for applications that do not require the most advanced wafer processing capability, avoiding the environmental impacts of manufacturing a new tool.

Our spares offerings include the reuse of high-value spare parts such as electrostatic chucks, RF hardware, and showerheads through a variety of re-cleaning, repair, refurbishment, and re-coating services. Parts lifetime extension, enabled by re-cleaning services, translates to approximately $400 million of reduction in materials consumption per year. Parts reuse enabled by repair and refurbishment services translates to approximately $150 million of reduction in materials consumption per year.

Achieving faster technology transitions with Equipment Intelligence™

Customer demand for increasingly faster cycles of learning and lower cost of development and production are accelerating the adoption of i4.0 in semiconductor manufacturing. We address these demands through our Equipment Intelligence™ solutions. Equipment Intelligence™ uses machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data, combined with our equipment and process expertise, to deliver improved productivity, efficiency, and performance for our customers, all while using fewer resources and generating less waste.

Enabling next-generation technologies with additive manufacturing

We leverage additive manufacturing (AM) as an innovation driver to enable our customers to build smaller, faster, more powerful, and power-efficient electronic devices for everyday use. AM aligns with our mission to continuously seek new technologies that push the limits of product design and manufacturing by allowing us to transition the production of parts typically manufactured by subtractive methods, to higher performing, innovative designs.

Continuously improving product performance

Corvus™ technology, available on our etch products, is a great example of technology innovation to reduce our products’ environmental footprint inside the customer fab. Corvus automates maintenance so that manual intervention is only needed yearly rather than weekly or monthly. At each of those maintenance events, parts are cleaned using a variety of chemicals and acids to restore the chamber to a pristine condition. Many of those parts are sent offsite to special facilities for cleaning. By using innovation to extend the productivity of our etch chambers, Corvus is a technology that allows our customers to achieve a 66% reduction in yearly chemical usage related to system maintenance.

Collaboration

Going further together

Complexity excites us. Collaboration drives us. Lam’s Tech Vision is to develop solutions for grand challenges. Collaboration across the global technical community helps make that vision possible.

Accelerate
Innovation

+

Discover
Together

=

Realize
Opportunity

Our Tech Vision approach has two components:

  • Educational opportunities and events that embolden our technical community to share knowledge, collaborate, and spark new ideas
  • Internal and open innovation programs that leverage external collaborations—enabling better solutions and faster cycles of learning

In 2021, most of our traditionally in-person events were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While we missed being together in person, virtual formats enabled us to increase the participation size and global reach of our events.

61

university collaborations
across 15 countries

Engaging with universities around the world

In the pursuit of proving what’s next, we need the strongest and smartest on our side. So when it comes to defining the future of technology, our collaborations with global universities play a critical role. We invest in a variety of university research projects to accelerate innovation and provide us with a pipeline of highly skilled talent. Additionally, our university engagements include capstone project sponsorships, scholarships, fellowships, thesis awards, scholarly competitions, events, and membership in research consortia.

Unlock Ideas - Accelerate Innovation

Unlock Ideas

All breakthroughs begin with an idea. Since 2015, our Unlock Ideas program has supported the testing of novel ideas through an annual call for research proposals that address challenges in the semiconductor industry. Through this program, the Lam global technical community and university faculty collaborate to submit proposals for the opportunity to receive a monetary donation to test and advance those ideas, which can relate to technologies across software and controls, subsystems, automation and robotics, process and materials, productivity, and sustainability. The annual Unlock Ideas and Elevate Ideas programs accounted for approximately 20% of Lam’s academic research funding in 2021. Unlock Ideas initiated 161 proposals funded by more than $4 million in awards over the past seven years. In 2021, Unlock Ideas funded research at 23 universities in five countries led by employees across five Lam offices globally.

John Chen
director of technology,
Silfex

“Unlock Ideas gives Silfex employees the opportunity to try disruptive ideas, learn from one another and think deeper about complex challenges and solutions.”

In the spirit of collaboration and shared insights, we hosted our University Collaboration Showcase in August 2021 to share outcomes of 2020 Unlock Ideas projects with our global technical community and give employees the opportunity to learn from our academic research collaborations. Further building on the program, we hosted our inaugural Unlock Ideas Showcase in November 2021. The virtual event featured a panel discussion on Lam’s collaboration on research projects with universities in Korea and was followed by a session on career opportunities at Lam Korea. We also piloted the Elevate Ideas program to bridge the gap between Unlock Ideas feasibility and product group development. Elevate Ideas provides an opportunity for continued funding of successful projects that show promise in accelerating innovation in the semiconductor industry.

At the forefront with industry collaborations and events that inspire

Open innovation and collaboration can deliver big rewards, so we engage with our industry peers and external experts through a variety of events and programs throughout the year. We also host several innovation programs and events that encourage our employees to connect, learn, innovate, and be inspired.

Innovation and technical seminars

Our Seminar Series, sponsored by the Office of the CTO, is an opportunity for our engineering community to share work with peers. In 2021, we hosted 46 technical seminars attended by 7,400 participants.

Through our Innovation Speaker Series, we invite distinguished thought leaders to present their latest ideas and findings. Our 2021 Innovation Speaker Series featured:

  • A discussion between Pedro David Espinoza, author of Differences That Make a Difference: How Organizations Succeed by Focusing on Innovation through Inclusion, and Lubab Sheet-Davis, vice president of strategy and innovation at Lam, on how diversity fuels innovation
  • A roundtable focused on how chip startups are innovating in memory and compute to enable artificial intelligence with CEOs from three Lam Capital portfolio startups
  • A keynote by Shellye Archambeau, author of Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms, on taking risks and failing fast
Stories can inspire innovation in work and in life, so we hold a regular company-wide Innovation Book Series with virtual and regional group discussions.

Nearly

75,000

employees attended our technical
and innovation seminars in 2021

Tech Scouting

Our Tech Scouting open innovation program identifies and co-develops technologies with third parties to drive innovation and growth, further enabling our product groups to deliver the highest-quality, highest-performing products. Tech Scouting focuses on prioritized technology needs from our business units, aligned with our Tech Vision. Tech Scouting remains an important part of our innovation strategy to leverage technologies outside of the semiconductor industry for speed to solution and competitive differentiation.

Engineering & Technology Conference

Our annual Engineering & Technology Conference brings together members of the Lam global technical community to participate in specialized learning opportunities that build skills and accelerate new ideas. In 2021, we hosted the event virtually and thus increased participation from 500 to more than 1,200. We collaborated with two internationally recognized leaders in broadcast media and gaming design to create an immersive, virtual world for attendees and optimized the broadcast for a global audience, running it continuously for 48 hours across global time zones.

Startup Pitch Competition

Technology and innovation play an important role in creating a more sustainable economy, which is why in 2021 Lam Capital teamed up with eight other SEMI member companies to seek out and support innovative startups to help solve our industry’s sustainability challenges faster, with a focus on:

  • Energy efficiency at tool, manufacturing process, and supply chain levels
  • Water sustainability technologies to increase manufacturing process efficiencies, reclamation, reuse, and restoration in industrial treatment centers
  • Material usage and sustainability, including alternative chemistries for wafer processing, materials recycling, and waste stream abatement

The participating companies selected 18 startups to receive coaching by Lam and other industry experts on productization options and integration considerations within the semiconductor industry. In 2022, finalists will pitch their innovations to the world’s leading semiconductor companies and clean-tech investors.

Annual R&D Spend

Note: Unless noted as fiscal year (FY), all the data in this report refers to the calendar year.