United Microelectronics Corp., the world’s second largest contract maker of semiconductors, on Thursday celebrated its 30th anniversary and proclaimed plans for the foreseeable future. At the moment UMC is working on 28nm and 20nm process technologies as well as is preparing its new 300mm fab, which will help the firm to boost the output of advanced chips.
“Currently, UMC has a total of 10 fabs continuously operating around the world, in Hsinchu, Tainan, Japan, and Singapore. In the earliest days from 30 years ago, UMC started with the manufacture of electronic watch ICs; now, we offer the most advanced 40nm volume production technologies. With our 10 fabs around the world providing global customers with the most comprehensive foundry solutions covering computing, consumer, and communications applications,” said Stan Hung, the chairman of UMC.
Since the debut of UMC's first 300mm fab 12A-in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in November 1999, UMC has operated in the Southern Taiwan Science Park for over 10 years. Fab12A began production in 2001 and can now produce chips at 65nm, 45nm and 40nm nodes. In response to increasing demands from customers for advanced process capacity, UMC has constructed buildings for phases 3 and 4 next to the original phases 1 and 2 of the fab 12A. At present the Fab 12A has capacity of 36 thousand 300mm wafers a month, or 432 thousand of 300mm wafers per annum. Once the phases 3 and 4 of the fab 12A become fully operational, the total capacity of the whole fab is projected to be over a million of 300mm wafers per annum, or more than 83 thousand wafers per months. UMC also operates fab 12i in Singapore, which also processes 300mm wafers, that has monthly capacity of around 45 million wafers.
"On the day we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we also simultaneously kick-off Fab12A's phases 3 and 4 in the Southern Taiwan Science Park. At the fab, we are now setting up the cleanroom facilities and installing the industry's most advanced automation and manufacturing systems. Upon completion, Fab12A's annual capacity is estimated to reach over one million of 300mm wafers,” said Dr. Shih-Wei Sun, chief executive officer of UMC.
UMC at present plans to start risk production of chips using 28nm using gate-last high-K/metal gate (HKMG) technology by the end of 2010. Early this year, UMC also began working with customers on planning and initial development of advanced 20nm technology.
In 2004 UMC moved its research and development headquarters to Tainan and built it next to its 300mm fab to enable close collaboration between advanced technology development and the subsequent manufacturing so to accelerate ramp-up to volume production. Tainan is currently home to 2600 employees, 500 of which are R&D engineers.