TSMC to invest $9.34 billion in Fab 15

Set to produce in excess of 100,000 12-inch wafers a month

THERE HAVE BEEN some concerns over TSMC’s manufacturing capacity of 12-inch 40nm wafers and it seems like the company is set on solving this problem, although it won’t happen overnight. TSMC broke ground for its new Fab 15 earlier today in Taichung, Taiwan and the new fabrication plant is set to be ready to start mass production in the first quarter of 2012.

That’s nearly a year and a half away from now which is a long time for a company that’s currently struggling to fulfill all of its customer’s orders. However, Fab 15 isn’t TSMC’s only solution to the problem as the company is also set to expand Fab 12 in Hsinchu and Fab 14 in Tainan for a combined output of some 240,000 12-inch wafers per month by the end of this year. That’s an increase of nearly 40,000 wafers per month compared to the current production rate.

Fab 15 will be constructed in four phases and the total investment in the few fab is set to be a whopping $9.34 billion. The first equipment should be installed as early as June 2011 in the phase one facility, but volume production of 40nm, as well as 28nm wafers won’t kick off until the first quarter of 2012.

In related news, UMC has invested in 12-inch manufacturing tools from Texas Instruments, as the latter has closed parts of a production plant in Japan after having acquired two wafer fabs from Spansion. It’s not clear as to what UMC is planning to use the new manufacturing equipment for, although the company is set to expand its production facilities this year with a budget of about $1.5 billion.S|A

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