Toshiba started construction of a new NAND flash memory fabrication facility named Fab 5, and signed a joint venture agreement with SanDisk to operate at the facility. Fab 5 is expected to be completed in Spring 2011, and the initial manufacturing process will be leading-edge 20nm generation, with subsequent generations to follow.
Toshiba Corporation (Tokyo: 6502) today announced that it has started construction of a state-of-the-art fabrication facility (fab), Fab 5, at Yokkaichi Operations, its memory production facility in Mie Prefecture, with construction work scheduled for completion in Spring 2011. Toshiba and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a Milpitas, California based company, today announced that they have signed primary agreements for a new joint venture to operate in the Fab 5 facility.
Construction of the new fab reflects expectations for increasing demand for NAND flash memory for existing and emerging applications, such as smartphones and solid-state drives. Adding new production capacity will ensure that Toshiba and SanDisk are able to respond quickly and decisively to market expansion and further strengthen their competitiveness.
The fab building will be constructed in two phases, with the pace of investment reflecting market trends. On completion of its second phase, Fab 5 will be comparable to Fab 4, with a ground area of some 38,000m2. The partners have flexibility as to the extent and timing of their respective fab capacity ramps, and the output allocation will be in accordance with the proportionate level of equipment funding. The initial manufacturing process will be the leading-edge 20-nanometer generation, with subsequent generations to follow.
Mr. Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Corporate Senior Vice President of Toshiba Corporation, President and CEO of Semiconductor Company said, "Constructing the new facility assures our ability to respond to continued strong demand in the NAND flash memory market. With our partner SanDisk, we will increase the manufacturing capacity gradually in accordance with market conditions, in a way that further enhances our competitiveness in the memory business."
Dr. Eli Harari, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SanDisk said, "Today's agreement builds on a successful ten-year partnership with Toshiba that has led to the development of eight generations of industry-leading multi-level cell NAND flash memory. Customer demand for flash memory continues to grow rapidly, and our investment in Fab 5 will provide us highly cost effective supply, while giving us the flexibility to tailor the rate of capacity expansion to match our demand requirements. Fab 5 represents a strategic commitment to further strengthen our leadership in the fast growing flash markets over the coming decade."
Fab 5 will have a quake-absorbing structure and is designed to impose minimal environmental impacts. Extensive use of LED lighting throughout the facility, leading edge energy-saving manufacturing equipment, and use of inverter-controlled pumps for semiconductor production equipment are expected to cut CO2 emissions to a level 12% lower than for Fab 4.
Yokkaichi Operations currently has four NAND flash memory fabs. Toshiba and SanDisk are currently ramping into the unused clean room space in Fab 4, and expect to reach full capacity of Fab 4 by the start of production in Fab 5.
Toshiba and SanDisk will each, through joint ventures, including Fab 5, make timely investments in NAND Flash memory, and will continue to jointly develop new technologies in order to enhance their competitiveness in the memory business.