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Next NAND fab to produce in 2007, say Toshiba, SanDisk

Posted: 07 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Peter Clarke? Toshiba? SanDisk? NAND? flash?

Toshiba Corp. and SanDisk Corp. have confirmed that are planning to build another 300mm NAND flash wafer fab, known as Fab 4, at Yokkaichi but the plant will be constructed and ramped faster than had been previously reported.

There have been reports that SanDisk was contemplating a new 300mm fab capable of running 100,000 wafer starts a month with operations staring in 2008 or 2009, with a decision due before the end of 2006.

Without disclosing explicitly how much they intend to spend the two companies confirmed the fab plan but said construction would begin in August 2006, with initial production operations scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2007.

The decision was made because of the rapid growth of the NAND flash memory market driven by the memory's selection storage technology for mobile products and digital consumer devices, including MP3 music players and memory cards for mobile phones.

The two companies said Toshiba would fund the construction of the building, while both Toshiba and SanDisk would provide funds for the manufacturing equipment. The companies did not disclose a budget but said Fab 4 would be similar in size to Fab 3 at Yokkaichi which started operations in summer 2005. Toshiba and SanDisk said they also intend to expand production at Fab 3.

"The NAND flash memory market is enjoying rapid growth, to which Toshiba has responded by expanding production capacity. We will maintain leadership in the market through continued proactive capital investments in production capacity and advanced process technology and multi-level cell technology," said Masashi Muromachi, corporate senior vice president of Toshiba and president and CEO of Toshiba's semiconductor subsidiary company, in a statement.

"We believe the Yokkaichi Fab 3 which is rapidly ramping, together with the new Fab 4 will have a highly competitive cost structure. The resulting output will create a formidable supply base that is expected to significantly grow our product revenues from new markets and new geographies in the second half of this decade," said Eli Harari, president and CEO of SanDisk, in the same statement.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times

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