Toshiba Corp. has announced it will demolish Fab 2 at its Yokkaichi campus in Mie prefecture, Japan, and replace it with a wafer dedicated to 3D-NAND flash memory production due to come on-stream in 2016. The volume capacity is due to follow on from pilot production of 3D NAND memories out of phase 2 of Fab 5 in the second-half of 2015.
Toshiba using the same financing model for the Fab2 replacement that it has used before for flash memory by entering into a memorandum of understanding with SanDisk Corp. to invest jointly in the new facility. The cost is reported to be about $7 billion over the next three years.
Demolition work on Fab 2 is starting this month with construction of the replacement wafer fab due to start in September 2014, with a completion target of September 2015. The clean room within the fab will be built in phases with timing aligned to need to convert 2D NAND capacity to 3D NAND. Construction of the initial cleanroom will be complete in time for 3D NAND volume production some time in 2016, Toshiba said.
The investment demonstrates Toshiba and SanDisk are determined not to be left behind in the deployment of 3D NAND. Their hope will be that their timing will coincide with demand for the vertical-format of monolithic non-volatile memory while other companies may have leapt into the market too quickly.
Samsung, first penguin into the water
Samsung was the first company to offer 3D NAND when it started sampling a 128-Gbit vertical NAND flash memory in August 2013. Earlier this month Samsung announced it had completed the construction of its dedicated 3D V-NAND production facility and was starting volume manufacturing. Samsung is using a 40nm-class NAND flash memory process stacked 24 layers deep. Meanwhile Micron claims to have prepared 3D NAND memory samples but to be holding them back (see Micron Holds Back 3D-NAND Samples) because it does not expect the market to "take off" until 2015 or 2016.
Demolition work on Toshiba's Fab 2 is starting this month with construction of the replacement wafer fab due to start in September 2014, with a completion target of September 2015. The clean room within the fab will be built in phases with timing aligned to need to convert 2D NAND capacity to 3D NAND. Construction of the initial cleanroom will be complete in time for 3D NAND volume production some time in 2016, Toshiba said.
The 3D NAND fab will be built with an emphasis on minimizing energy consumption within the building. This will include LED lighting and energy-saving manufacturing equipment. Waste heat from machines will be used to lower fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions by 15 percent compared to Fab 5, currently the most advanced fab on the Yokkaichi site. Toshiba and SanDisk will support 3D memory production with leading-edge manufacturing equipment for lithography, deposition and etching through joint ventures, Toshiba said.
3D NAND production is due to start in phase 2 of Fab 5. The shell of that fab is on-track to be completed in mid-2014 with production due in 2H15. However, that majority of the capacity from that fab will be used for the production of 1Y and 1Z generations of 2D NAND and only low volumes of 3D NAND are expected from a pilot line in that shell in 2015.
The market for NAND flash memory in 2013 was 39 billion gigabytes worth about $24 billion, according to estimates from IHS, the publisher of Electronics 360.
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