SanDisk Corp. and Toshiba Corp., two companies that operate the world’s second largest NAND flash manufacturing capacities, on Monday announced that the construction of the phase two shell of the Fab 5 joint venture wafer fabrication facility located in Yokkaichi, Japan, will begin in August 2013 with expected completion in mid-2014.
Yokkaichi Operations currently has three Fabs mass producing NAND flash memory, including Fab 5 phase 1. Fab 5's construction was planned around two phases, the first of which went into operation in July 2011. After giving careful consideration to the balance of product supply and demand, and noting a recovery driven by growing demand for smartphones, tablets, SSD for enterprise servers and other new applications, Toshiba and SanDisk now anticipate further medium- to long-term market expansion and recognizes that the time is right to expand Fab 5.
Fab 5 second phase construction will start at the end of August this year and be completed in summer next year. Decisions on equipment investment and production will reflect market trends. Fab 5 will have an earthquake absorbing structure and is designed to minimize environmental impact. Extensive use of LED lighting throughout the facility and up-to-date energy-saving production facilities, along with full and effective use of waste heat, are expected to reduce CO2 emissions to a level 13% lower than for Fab 4.
SanDisk and Toshiba expect to use phase two of Fab 5 primarily for technology transitions of existing Yokkaichi wafer capacity. The new cleanroom will provide the space needed for additional equipment required for transitioning the wafer capacity in Fab 3, Fab 4 and phase one of Fab 5, to next generation 2D NAND technologies and to early generations of 3D NAND technology.
The Fab 5 plans are consistent with the company’s strategy and there are no changes to SanDisk’s capital expenditure plans.
Going forward, Toshiba will expand its memory business and boost competitiveness by timely investments, leadership in advanced process technology and the development of new generation memories that answer market needs, the company said.