Toshiba Corp. has opened the second phase of its Fab 5 and started construction of a new Fab 2 after bulldozing the original at the Yokkaichi site, which is the company's center for NAND flash memory production in Mie prefecture, Japan.
Phase 2 of Fab 5 is being used for the production of NAND flash nonvolatile memory on 15nm process technology while Fab 2 will be used to develop and bring up 3D-NAND process technology in time for production in 2016, Toshiba said. The cost of the replacement Fab 2 is expected to be about $7 billion over the next three years.
It is notable that Samsung is already producing NAND flash memory with 32, or possibly more layers. It's first 3D NAND was a 128-Gbit device manufactured across 24 layers. Toshiba/SanDisk and Micron the main rivals to Samsung in NAND flash are targeting 2015 and 2016.
Working with financing partner and lead customer SanDisk Corp., Toshiba started the construction of the second module of Fab 5 in August 2013 and was able to install equipment from July onwards. Some production was able to start at the beginning of September.
Toshiba announced the start of 15nm NAND production in April (see Toshiba Starts 15nm NAND Production) with initial production in a part of the first phase of Fab 5. The company now plans to convert all of the phase 1 building to 15nm planar production while bringing the the same technology up in phase 2.
"We are confident that our joint venture with SanDisk will allow us to produce cost competitive next generation memories at Yokkaichi," said Yasuo Naruke, CEO of Toshiba Semiconductor and Storage Products Co, in a statement.
"I don't have any intention to pursue the biggest market share in our management," Nikkei reported Toshiba President Hisao Tanaka as saying at the press conference held in Yokkaichi.
The NAND flash market divides between Samsung, Toshiba, Micron and SK-Hynix with shares of 37, 32, 20 and 11 percent respectively, according to IHS market research for 1Q14.
"Fab 5 Phase 2 and the future New Fab 2 will provide both companies with the cleanroom space needed to continue converting our installed NAND capacity to new advanced technology nodes," said Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO of SanDisk, in the same Toshiba statement.
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