Toshiba plans to enlarge its state-of-art No. 5 semiconductor fab where it will build NAND flash memory on next-generation process technology.
The second-phase construction at Toshiba’s Yokkaichi operations in Japan will begin at the end of August and will be complete by next summer, the company said.
The Yokkaichi site has three fabs that make NAND flash memory. Fab 5's construction was planned around two phases, the first of which went into operation in July 2011.
The memory IC maker said it decided to expand the fab because there is growing demand for smartphones, tablets and solid-state drivers for enterprise servers and other new applications that use NAND flash. Toshiba said it anticipates medium- to long-term growth for NAND flash.
The NAND flash memory market will grow from $20.2 billion in 2012 to $23.6 billion in 2013 and will rise to $26.2 billion in 2014, according to IHS.
Dee Robison, IHS memory analyst, said other NAND flash memory manufacturers, including Micron and Hynix, will likely increase production because of growth in NAND flash demand.
“Right now the market is tight and we are expecting demand to increase substantially as OEMs build inventory for the holiday season,” said Robinson. She added that strong third-quarter demand “is going to lead to some shortages in the market.” As a result, suppliers will revise their capacity plans.
NAND flash memory production will rise from about 2.8 billion wafers in the second quarter to about 3 billion in the fourth quarter, although suppliers earlier in the year said they would not increase production in 2013, according to Robinson.
Toshiba’s Fab 5 phase 2 facility will have an automated product transportation system and earthquake-absorbing structure and will be designed to minimize the facility’s environmental footprint. LED lighting and up-to-date energy-saving equipment, along with effective use of waste heat, are expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 13 percent compared with Fab 4, according to Toshiba.
Toshiba’s Fab 5 will also be used to produce 3D memory chips in the future.