September 4, 2007 – A year after starting construction on their Fab 4 joint NAND flash fab, Toshiba and SanDisk have inaugurated their newest 300mm fab at Toshiba’s facility in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan.
Fab 4 will begin mass production by year’s end and ramp to 80,000 wafers/month output by 2H08, initially with 56nm process technologies and transitioning to 43nm starting in March 2008. Total potential capacity is 210,000 wafers/month, though the companies did not indicate a schedule for investing to get to that level of output, saying only that Fab 4 would be ramped based on a “projected increase in future market demand.”
Toshiba funded construction of Fab 4, while the two firms’ JV, “Flash Alliance Ltd.” (50.1% owned by Toshiba), is supporting the fab’s tooling stage.
The companies noted in a statement that the building incorporates “the latest earthquake-absorbing structure” designed to reduce temblor forces by up to two-thirds, as well as multiple power compensation for any sudden momentary loss of power supply. (The latter might be seen as a jab at rival memory maker Samsung, which is still gauging the impact of a multi-production line blackout at its facilities last month. The fact that a single blown power supply took down all the lines in Samsung’s K2 area means there was only one common power point — by comparison, Hiroshima Elpida Memory Inc. has two power points in its chip plant and each of three production areas has a station for switching high-voltage current, and several transformers work at only ~50% of load capacity to help prevent such shutdowns, noted the Nikkei Business Daily.)