With pattern dimensions shrinking, dry methods of etching providing controllable degrees of anisotropy become a necessity. A number of different configurations of equipment - inline, hex, planar, barrel - have been offered, and within each type, there are numerous significant variations. Further, each specific type of machine must be perfected over a complex, interactive parameter space to achieve suitable removal of various materials. Among the most critical system parameters are the choice of cathode or anode to hold the wafers, the chamber pressure, the plasma excitation frequency, and the electrode and magnetron structures. Recent trends include the use of vacuum load locks, multiple chambers, multiple electrodes, downstream etching or stripping, and multistep processes. A major percentage of etches in production handle the three materials: polysilicon, oxide and aluminum. Recent process developments have targeted refractory metals, their silicides, and with increasing emphasis, silicon trenching. Indeed, with new VLSI structures, silicon trenching has become the process of greatest interest. For stripping, dry processes provide advantages other than anisotropy. Here, too, new configurations and methods have been introduced recently. While wet processes are less than desirable from a number of viewpoints (handling, safety, disposal, venting, classes of clean room, automatability), dry methods are still being perfected as a direct, universal replacement. The paper will give an overview of these machine structures and process solutions, together with examples of interest. These findings and the trends discussed are based on semiannual survey of manufacturers and users of the various types of equipment.