United Microelectronics Corp., one of the world's largest contract maker of semiconductors, on Thursday held a groundbreaking ceremony for its 300mm Fab 12A phase 5 and 6 (P5 and P6) at its Tainan, Taiwan fab complex. The expansion begins UMC's new generation of 300mm manufacturing that will extend 28nm production and establish a solid foundation for 20nm and beyond to meet customers' high-end demand, thus ushering in the company's next era of growth.
"UMC remains optimistic about the long-term outlook of the semiconductor and foundry industries. However, with increasing industry volatility, a clearly defined business strategy is needed in order to take full advantage of upcoming market opportunities. We stay firm to our 'Customer-Driven Foundry Solutions' approach that is constituted on the classical foundry model and open ecosystem approach. This commitment enables true synergies between UMC, customers, and ecosystem partners," said Stan Hung, chairman of UMC.
Fab 12A to Bring Total Capacity to 180 Thousand Wafers Per Month
The state-of-the-art Fab 12A phases 5 and 6 will provide advanced 28nm, 20nm, and 14nm capacity, and is scheduled for equipment move-in during the second half of 2013. Total cleanroom area of Fab 12A phase 5 and 6 will be 53000m2, total capacity is projected to be 50 thousand 300mm wafers per month, which will bring total monthly design capacity for Fab 12A to 130 thousand wafers. With phase 7 and 8 online, the fab 12A complex will have a total design capacity of 180 thousand wafers per month.
UMC Fab 12A
With Fab 12A and Fab 12i combined, the total eventual 300mm output of UMC will be over 235 thousand wafers per month (or 705 thousand 300mm wafers per quarter) several years down the road. TSMC projects to have total 300mm capacity at 1041 thousand wafers per quarter in Q4 2012. Globalfoundries expects its output of 300mm wafers to be at 645 thousand per quarter after it expands its existing facilities in Germany and Singapore as well as fully ramps Fab 8 in the U.S.
Cumulative capital expenditures for UMC's Fab 12A phases 1-4 is projected to reach $ 8 billion, the phases 5 and 6 are expected to cost another $8 billion. The cost of phases 7 and 8 is not indicated at the moment.
14nm FinFET in Development
"This past decade, UMC's 300mm fabs in Taiwan and Singapore helped UMC strengthen our position as a first-tier foundry provider. Our internal R&D efforts continue to prove successful with the development of progressive advanced technologies. 28nm Poly SiON is now ramping mobile communication and computing products, 28nm gate-last HKMG is set to start pilot production of flagship products in the second half of this year, and 20nm HKMG and 14nm FinFET are advancing smoothly," said Shih-Wei Sun, chief executive officer of UMC.
In addition to development of 20nm and 14nm technologies, UMC also cooperates closely with customers on specialty technologies such as HV, embedded non-volatile memory, BSI CMOS image sensor, 2.5D interposer, and 3D IC TSV to provide a full range of technology solutions for all types of customers in the future.
"The Fab 12A P5-P8 fab complex will be characterized by close partnerships with customers and vendors to align with their technology roadmaps, enabling customers to introduce their future products while propelling UMC growth. Going forward, UMC's 'customer-driven foundry solution' approach will ensure UMC's sustained competitiveness, profitability, and ROE improvement for years to come," added Shih-Wei Sun.
UMC has operated in the Tainan Science Park since November 1999, when Fab 12A was established as Taiwan's first 300mm fab.