Samsung, Toshiba launch all-out 3D NAND production efforts
Samsung's ramp-up follows its announcement in August that it had begun mass production of a 128Gbit/s NAND flash memory that is integrated in multiple layers. Its 3D V-NAND products have already been produced in its Korea fabs (see Samsung embarks on 3D V-NAND mass production).
Construction of the new facility took 20 months since Samsung broke ground in Xi'an in September 2012 to build the approximately 230,000 square metre facility. In an email exchange with EE Times, Hangu Sohn, product planning director for Samsung Semiconductor, said Xi'an was chosen due to its excellent infrastructure, its highly skilled workforce, and its role as an important centre for the information technology industry in China, where approximately 50 per cent of global NAND flash is generated from production bases operated by the country's many IT companies.
Samsung plans to complete construction of its entire Xi'an complex, which includes an assembly facility and test line, by the end of this year. Sohn said the fab will help Samsung to rapidly respond to and meet fast-growing customer demand in both China and other countries.
Samsung's Xi'an facility.
Samsung is not the only company gearing up for production of 3D NAND flash. Last July, Toshiba announced it was beefing up its NAND manufacturing capacity with the second phase of Fab 5 at its Yokkaichi facility in Mie, Japan, due to be completed this summer. It will be capable of running the company's multi-layered BiCS (Bit-Cost Scalable) manufacturing process for 3D NAND memories.
And, more recently, Toshiba announced it would collaborate with SanDisk on a new joint facility on the Yokkaichi campus by replacing its Fab 2 complex at a cost of $7 billion over the next three years. Completion is expected in September 2015, and the facility will include a clean room that will be built in phases to accommodate the conversion from 2D NAND capacity to 3D NAND.
SanDisk, meanwhile, is expected to up its capital spending after chopping it by 28 per cent in 2012 and 12 per cent in 2013, according to IC Insights. It's now forecasted to show the largest capital spending percentage increase, with 86 per cent, among the top 10, to expand production of advanced 3D NAND flash memory with Toshiba.
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