Toshiba Corp. has announced that it had started construction of a new fabrication facility, Fab 5, at Yokkaichi Operations, its memory production facility in Mie Prefecture, with construction work scheduled for completion in Spring 2011. Toshiba and SanDisk Corp. also said that they had signed primary agreements for a new joint venture to operate in the Fab 5 facility.
The fab building will be constructed in two phases, with the pace of investment reflecting market trends. On completion of its second phase, Fab 5 will be comparable to Fab 4, with a ground area of some 38 000 m2 and floor are of around 187 000m2 located over five floors. The partners have flexibility as to the extent and timing of their respective fab capacity ramps, and the output allocation will be in accordance with the proportionate level of equipment funding. The initial manufacturing process will be the leading-edge 20nm generation, with subsequent generations to follow.
Fab 5 will have a quake-absorbing structure and is designed to impose minimal environmental impacts. Extensive use of LED lighting throughout the facility, leading edge energy-saving manufacturing equipment, and use of inverter-controlled pumps for semiconductor production equipment are expected to cut CO2 emissions to a level 12% lower than for Fab 4.
Construction of the new fab reflects expectations for increasing demand for NAND flash memory for existing and emerging applications, such as smartphones and solid-state drives. Adding new production capacity will ensure that Toshiba and SanDisk are able to respond quickly and decisively to market expansion and further strengthen their competitiveness.
Yokkaichi Operations currently has four NAND flash memory fabs. Toshiba and SanDisk are currently ramping into the unused clean room space in Fab 4, and expect to reach full capacity of Fab 4 by the start of production in Fab 5.
Toshiba and SanDisk will each, through joint ventures, including Fab 5, make timely investments in NAND Flash memory, and will continue to jointly develop new technologies in order to enhance their competitiveness in the memory business.