TSMC Kicks Off 450mm Wafer Fab Plan

Feb 11, 2011 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken Liu, CENS
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Taipei, Feb. 11, 2011 (CENS)--Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) yesterday kicked off its plan to invest in 450mm wafer fab, which is slated to come on stream with 20nm process technology in 2015 after entering into pilot run in 2013.

Industry executives estimated the No.1 pure silicon foundry to funnel over US$10 billion into the project, which is estimated to move TSMC further ahead of Samsung and GlobalFoundires in foundry competition to stay almost as advanced as noncompetitor Intel. Intel plans to deploy 22nm process technology at its first 450mm wafer fab.

According to people familiar with the investment project, TSMC will install its first 450mm pilot line at the phase-four construction site of its Fab 12 complex, which is located in the Hsinchu Science Park. Volume-production lines will be built at the phase-five construction site of its Fab 15 complex in Taichung.

TSMC Chief Technology Officer Jack Sun said last year at an IC-technology forum in Germany that a move to 450mm wafer fabs is important for cost reduction.

TSMC is another chipmaker after Intel to announce 450mm fab investment project. For this year, the firm sets capital expenditure at US$7.8 billion.

GlobalFoundries, a new foundry entrant with ambitious goal, projects its 2011 capital expenditure at US$5.4 billion, exactly double the amount it spent in 2010. Milpitas, California-headquartered GlobalFoundries plans to start volume production using 28nm process technology in 2012, posing it a challenge to TSMC planning to put 28nm process technology into commercial production in the second quarter this year.