Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said that its yet-to-be-built fab 16 may support production equipment compatible with 450mm wafers. Moreover, the company may even construct later phases of fab 15 expansions so that it would be able to host equipment for 450mm production.
In an interview with DigiTimes web-site, TSMC reportedly said that it remained “flexible” on its fab 16 supporting equipment used to make chips on 450mm wafers and claimed that it would consider building later phases of expansion at fab 15 compatible with production equipment for 450mm wafers. If the plan is completed successfully, then TSMC will have 450mm production sometime in 2015 – 2016.
Earlier this month it was reported that TSMC intends to build yet another giant production facility called fab 16 that will cost it whopping $10 billion dollars and which TSMC intends to start building in 2014. Unlike current fab 12 and fab 14, the fab 16 will consist of five phases and will take many years to become fully operational. At present exact details about the fab are not known, but it is projected that after the fab 16 is fully utilized, TSMC’s total capacity will be approximately 600 thousand 300mm wafers per month.
Combined capacity of fab 12 and fab 14 is scheduled to exceed 240 thousand 300mm wafers per month by the end of this year. When the fab 15 becomes fully operational, TSMC's combined 300mm manufacturing capacities will be over 340 thousand 300mm wafers per month, which will let the company to maintain its position of the world's largest contract maker of semiconductors.
Since the fab 16 will have capacity comparable to that of all the previous, it will not only be TSMC’s biggest production facility, but will also likely to be the most expensive semiconductor manufacturing foundry in the world. Considering that TSMC is only projected to start construction of fab 16 in 2014, it is logical that the facility will be compatible with 450mm wafers and equipment.