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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company this week topped off its Fab 12 manufacturing facility. The new fab will allow TSMC to significantly boost output of chips produced using leading-edge fabrication processes that carry higher price tag. Besides, TSMC also announced that it would start production of chips using 28nm fabrication technology in Q4 2010.

Fab 12, Phase 4 and 5 are TSMC's latest generation of production facilities designated for research and development as well as initial volume production. Phase 4 began volume production in third quarter of 2009, while construction began on Phase 5 at the end of 2009. Phase 5 is expected to begin volume production in the third quarter of 2010 to satisfy urgent recent increases in customer demand.

“The topping of our Fab 12, Phase 5 facility, and our plans to rapidly move in equipment and begin volume production there in the third quarter of this year is another example of our competitiveness in providing steadfast support for customers,” said Mark Liu, TSMC's senior vice president of operations.

In addition to volume production of 28nm products, Fab 12, Phase 5 will also serve as the base for research and development of 22nm and more advanced process technologies. Currently, TSMC is conducting R&D for 28nm and 22nm process technologies at its Fab 12, Phase 1 and 2 facilities, and will hand 28nm technology to the Phase 5 facility for volume production in the Q4 2010.

By the fourth quarter of the year TSMC will have three versions of 28nm process technology ready, including those with silicon oxinitride/poly (SiON/Poly) dielectrics and high-K metal gate (HKMG) technology.

To meet customer needs, and in addition to capacity expansion at Fab 12, TSMC will also begin construction on Fab 14, Phase 4 located at its Tainan site. Groundbreaking is scheduled following the end of Chinese New Year, with the facility complete and ready for equipment move-in at the end of this year. These capacity expansion and technology development projects all attest to TSMC's determination to provide steadfast support for its customers, the firm indicated.

In order to meet capacity and R&D needs, as well as strengthen TSMC’s technology leadership, the world’s largest contract maker of semiconductors began a large-scale recruitment campaign in January, and expects to hire more than 3000 semiconductor-related staff, primarily engineers. Considering that the market of semiconductors has still not fully rebounded, massive recruitment as well as capacity increases seem to be a result of increased competition from Globalfoundries, which not only has excellent production facilities, fine process technologies and plans to expand leading-edge manufacturing foundries, but also rich investors from Abu Dhabi emirate.

Tags: TSMC, 28nm, Semiconductor

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