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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors, plans to start testing 450mm wafer production equipment in 2010, according to market rumours. The decision is inline with the plan of the company to build a pilot 450mm production line by 2012.

DigiTimes web-site reports that TSMC maintains its plans regarding 450mm trial production in 2012 and is “cooperating closely” with equipment and material suppliers to push the advance to 450mm wafer production and believes that it will be able to test at least some of the actual 450mm production equipment already in 2010.

In mid-2008 Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics TSMC announced that they have reached agreement on the need for industry-wide collaboration to target a transition to 450mm-sized wafers starting in 2012. The companies will cooperate with the semiconductor industry to help ensure that all of the required components, infrastructure and capability are developed and tested for a pilot line by this target date. Still, TSMC stressed last year that there are no actual plans to build a 450mm fab.

“TSMC has no timetable or concrete plans to build a 450mm fab. […] The wafer fab facilities currently under construction at site on the intersection of Park Avenue 3 and Park Avenue 5 of the Hsinchu Science Park are phases 4 and 5 of TSMC Fab 12. These are 300mm wafer facilities and will serve as the company’s research and  development centers and initial production site for advanced technologies,” the world’s top contract makers of semiconductors said in a statement with Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The talks regarding transition to 450mm wafers have been online since 2004, if not earlier; however, there are numerous manufacturers of chips who claim that 450mm wafers are not needed in 2012. For example, Advanced Micro Devices and Globalfoundries claims that improving 300mm facilities can provide a lot of benefits without tremendous investments into the new format of wafer manufacturing.

TSMC did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: TSMC, Semiconductor, 450mm

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