Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said that it would build the first pilot production line that processes 450mm wafers in 2013 - 2014 timeframe and would start mass production of semiconductors on 450mm wafers in 2015 - 2016. The announcement shows confidence of the world's largest contract maker of chips in necessity to transit to larger wafers.
"I want to say a few words about the 450mm wafer manufacturing. Our first 450mm pilot line is planned at our Fab12 Phase VI, starting with 20nm technology. The timing of pilot line will be around 2013, 2014. Our first 450mm production line is planned in around 2015, 2016," said Morris Change, chief executive officer and chairman of TSMC, during a recent conference call with financial analysts.
The rather bullish plans of TSMC indicate that the company either has finalized plans or nears their finalization. Moreover, it means that the contract maker of semiconductors is confident in suppliers of equipment capable of processing large 450mm wafers.
A lot of things do depend on equipment manufacturers since neither of them is unlikely to start building expensive pieces of equipment unless there are customers for those tools, which are not just considering, but are committed to acquire the equipment.
In fact, some analysts already believe that the claim by TSMC actually changes everything for 450mm fabs in general.
''The importance of this is that back in the 300mm days, things really did not get going until TSMC announced a real fab. There was a lot of table pounding, but the supply base doesn’t get rolling until there are real orders. Orders are not real until there is a fab in play. That means that you can expect Samsung and GlobalFoundries to put 450mm into their plans immediately. I would bet Samsung will be first or it may well come as a Common Platform alliance deal,'' said G. Dan Hutcheson, chief executive officer of of VLSI Research.