Any chance we can get an expansion on this statement? What sector is their 20nm process targeting exactly?
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will begin to install manufacturing equipment that will be utilized to make chips using 20nm process technology later in April, around two months ahead of TSMC’s own schedule. In case all goes well, then TSMC will be able to manufacture 20nm chips in commercial volumes starting late this year.
On April 20, TSMC, the world’s largest contract makers of semiconductors, will start to install new equipment that is needed to manufacture various chips using 20nm process technology into its new Fab 14/phase 5 facility, reports FocusTaiwan. The company has reportedly sent more than 100 engineers to equipment manufacturers in the United States, Europe and Japan to “conduct quality checks to make sure that its new plant can start operations in the new time frame”.
As it appears, the company decided to accelerate the launch of Fab 14/phase 5 by around two months so that to be able to produce chips on 20nm node in higher volumes already this year. Previously it was announced that TSMC's 20nm technology is scheduled to begin volume production at TSMC's Fab 12/phase 6 this year.
Many believe that TSMC’s intention to boost volume output of 20nm chips in calendar 2013 is related to the company’s negotiations with Apple, which needs extremely high volumes of chips as well as state-of-the-art manufacturing technology. Given the fact that TSMC’s 20nm process technology will come only in one version and will neither be tailored for performance nor power consumption, but will attempt to address completely different needs, not all customers of TSMC will use it. As a result, quick ramp up of 20nm means that the contract manufacturer expects particular high-volume client or clients (e.g., Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD) to adopt it.
TSMC began to build the phase 5 of its Fab 14 in early April, 2012. The construction of the facility is now complete and it will take from six to twelve months to fully equip the fab completely.
Fab 14 is TSMC's second 300mm GigaFab following Fab 12 phase 1 facility that began volume production in 2004. With phases 1, 2, 3 and 4 now in operation, Fab 14 has capacity of 550 thousand 300mm wafers per quarter, making it the world's largest 300mm fab. Combined with the planned Fab 14 phase 6, total cleanroom area of Fab 14 will reach 87 000m2 square meters The output of Fab 14 phases 1 through 4 has an estimated annual revenue of $6 billion, and TSMC expects the combined annual revenue of phases 5 and 6 to reach a similar scale.
TSMC and Apple did not comment on the news-story.