Taipei, Wednesday, June 28, 2017 20:18 (GMT+8)
TSMC might consider 18-inch fab rather than another 12-inch
Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Thursday 16 December 2010]

Instead of building a fourth 12-inch (300mm) fab, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) might prefer to have its first 18-inch (450mm) production fab to be called "Fab 16" equipped for 20nm and below processes, according to Nobunaga Chai, analyst for semiconductor sat Digitimes Research. However, it all depends on whether fab tool suppliers are willing to devote their resources to supporting a limited number of players who can afford the costly investment necessary to build the next-generation facilities, said Chai.

The market has to be big enough to encourage them to produce equipment for 18-inch facilities, and ultimately begin shipping in volume, Chai continued. If Intel and Samsung Electronics make their 18-inch fab plans more practical, TSMC might have a chance to receive full support from its tool providers.

Around mid-2008, before the credit crunch, TSMC along with Intel and Samsung announced they had reached an agreement on the need for industry-wide collaboration to target a transition to larger, 450mm-sized wafers starting in 2012. Some believe that the target to begin the transition may have revised to a later year.

At an annual supply chain management forum held earlier in December, TSMC's presentation materials mentioned that construction on a new 12-inch fab called Fab 16 is scheduled to kick off in 2014. But the foundry has not yet announced plans for Fab 16.

A recent EETimes report quoted an executive at Intel as saying that the chip giant is building a new fab that will be 450mm compatible but could also support 300mm tools. To be known as D1X, the fab is slated for R&D startup in 2013.

TSMC now runs two 12-inch fabs, Fab 12 and Fab 14, where the foundry continues to expand advanced process capacity. Fab 15, which is under construction at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP), will commence volume production in the first quarter of 2012.

China smartphone touch-panel industry 2016 forecast
Trends and forecasts for the China FPD industry, 2014-2017
The transition to 4k TV - UHD TV market forecast, 2014-2017
  • Wireless broadband developments in Southeast Asia markets

    As of 2013, the 10 ASEAN nations had a total of over 700 million mobile subscriptions, with the CAGR from 2003-2013 reaching 24%. This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the various mobile broadband markets in ASEAN and looks at the respective trends in 4G LTE development for those markets.

  • 2015 global tablet demand forecast

    This Digitimes Research Special Report provides a 2015 forecast for the global tablet market and analyzes the strategies of key market players such as Google, Apple, Intel, and Microsoft.

  • 2015 China smartphone panel trend forecast

    This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the strategies of key China-based major panel makers BOE, Tianma and IVO for attacking the different market segments through technology and pricing, and their relationship to local vendors Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE, Xiaomi and Coolpad.