As its bigger rival struggles to deliver sufficient amount of chips produced using 28nm process technology, United Microelectronics Corp. claims that it is progressing smoothly with the roll-out of the technology. The firm has already delivered samples of 28nm chips to multiple clients and plans to initiate volume production sometimes in the second half of the year. Still, the company will be conservative with 28nm capacity.
"UMC is progressing smoothly on our advanced 28nm process technology. We have successfully delivered the 28nm flagship product samples to mobile communication and computing customers with additional product tape outs during last quarter. We remained on track to enter volume production for UMC 28nm process in the second half of the 2012," said Shih-Wei Sun, chief executive officer of UMC, during a conference call with financial analysts.
The company indicated that it actually delivered thousands of functional engineering samples of chips made using 28LPT and 28HLP version of the 28nm fabrication process that use conventional Poly/SiON (silicon oxynitride) gates. The list of clients is confidential, but UMC stresses that it includes customers with mobile communication and mobile computing designs.
Just like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, UMC will adopt high-k metal gate (HKMG) version of the process slowly. The first 28nm chips made using 28HPM version of the process with HKMG technology will only start to tape out sometimes in December, 2012, actual production will only commence in 2013.
"We are actively building sufficient capacity for 28nm technology and believe that this node will enhance UMC’s customer and the product meets average selling price and profitability once volume production begins. [...] Our consistent efforts [in Q2 2012] would be directed towards timely management of customers advancing the capacity needs and completing all necessary 28nm preparation for volume production in order to maximize benefits to customers and the UMC," added Shih-Wei Sun.
Although UMC is committed to provide sufficient production capacities for 28nm node, the company stresses that it will not speed up the expansion plans. UMC wants wafers processed using 28nm manufacturing technology to account for 5% of wafer revenue by the end of the year.