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TI to double 300mm analog fab capacity

Posted: 29 Apr 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TI fab? 300mm wafer? analog fab?

Texas Instruments Inc. is expanding its 300mm analog fab in Richardson amid an upturn in the market.

TI last year opened the Richardson semiconductor fab, dubbed RFAB, that would be the first analog chip fab to use 300mm wafers. TI had already moved to equip the fab by buying $172.5 million worth of chip production equipment from Qimonda AG's Sandston fab.

In Q3 09, TI announced the "phase I" opening of RFAB, and immediately began to move in equipment. Initial production for RFAB is due by year's end. Now, the company is expanding its manufacturing capacity with the recent purchase of more than 100 new fab tools. This is the first step in launching the "phase II" expansion of RFAB.

When complete, "phase II" of RFAB will double the analog manufacturing capacity in the facility, bringing its revenue capability to about $2 billion. TI will begin moving "phase II" equipment into the facility immediately, "so it is ready to be brought online as market demand warrants," TI said.

Phase I and II combined will fill only two-thirds of the 1.1 million square foot facility, leaving additional room for future expansion. "With Phase I progressing well and on track to begin shipments by the end of the year, this phase II expansion will give us a head start in providing our customers access to significant analog capacity to fuel their growth," said Gregg Lowe, TI senior VP, in a statement.

The fab will produce analog ICs based on TI's proprietary process. Customers will use these chips in electronics ranging from smart phones and netbooks to telecom and computing systems.

Phase II of RFAB is the most recent in a series of analog manufacturing expansions by TI over the past 24 months. In early 2009, TI opened Clark, an 800,000-square-foot assembly and test facility in the Philippines, which quickly ramped production with the latest packaging technologies.

In 2008, TI redeployed more than 150 tools from an underutilized wafer fab in Dallas to fortify capacity in other analog fabs worldwide.

In Q4 09, TI began installing nearly 200 manufacturing tools for 200mm production in Dallas, Freising, Germany and Miho, Japan.

Q1 results
"TI is building barriers to entry in 300mm analog manufacturing, and has the scale, sales force, and portfolio cross-selling capabilities to be a very formidable competitor," said Craig Berger, an analyst with FBR.

TI reported Q1 revenue of $3.21 billion, up 54 percent from a year ago and up 7 percent from the previous quarter. Net income was $658 million, or $0.52 a share, in the period, compared to $17 million, or $0.01 a share, a year ago, and $655 million, or $0.52, from the previous quarter.

The company also beat Wall Street's estimates. It was supposed to earn $0.51 on sales of $3.13 billion.

"Texas Instruments reported robust Q1 results and gave upside Q2 guidance driven by robust global demand, some downstream supply chain inventory growth, and steady financial and business execution," said Berger in a report. "Importantly, management said lead times are now contracting as capacity ramps, and that TI has seen no corresponding order cancellations or debooking."

As reported, TI was suffering from extended lead times.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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