Toshiba Corporation is expanding the production of its proprietary 3D Flash memory, the BiCS FLASHTM, with plans to to build a new fab in Yokkaichi in the Mie prefecture.

The plan to build a new BiCS FLASHTM facility was announced in March, and the construction is scheduled to start in February 2017. The new fab will be dedicated to 3D Flash memory processes, according to the company.

Like Fab 5, it will be constructed in two phases to optimise the pace of investment against market trends, with completion of the first phase targeting summer 2018. Toshiba also plans to construct a new building adjacent to the new fab, the Memory R&D Centre. This will bring together research development activities now carried out in different locations—a move that will promote flash memories development.

Toshiba expects to continue its joint investments in and operations of the flash joint venture based on discussion with Western Digital in the new facility.

The new fab will have a quake absorbing structure and an environmentally friendly design that includes LED lighting throughout the building, plus the latest energy saving manufacturing equipment. It will also introduce an advanced production system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to boost productivity.