Samsung’s Multi-Billion Fab in Pyeongtaek Starts Production of 64-Layer V-NAND
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Samsung on Tuesday announced that it had started mass production of 64-layer V-NAND memory in its newly build fab in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, and the first batch had already been shipped to one of the company’s customers. The new fab was intended to focus on DRAM manufacturing, but in the light of NAND flash shortage the company adjusted its plans at some point and now the plant produces V-NAND.
Samsung’s semiconductor manufacturing facility in Pyeongtaek will be the largest and one of the most expensive fabs in the world once it ramps up its production to full capacity. Samsung announced plans to build it in October, 2014, and then started construction in April, 2015. Initially, Samsung announced plans to invest ?15.6 trillion (around $13.5 billion at the current exchange rate) in the facility, but over the past couple of years, it announced further expansion plans for the fab. As a result, investments in the Pyeongtaek facility will total ?30 trillion ($26.1 billion) by 2021, making the complex the most important semiconductor manufacturing facility ever.
According to some reports, Samsung initially planned to produce DRAM in its new fab, but given its size and scale, it was doubtful that the plant would be used only for DRAM. As it appears, Samsung decided to produce fourth-generation 3D V-NAND flash memory in its Pyeongtaek facility first, possibly because there is growing demand for NAND by Samsung’s own divisions, including Samsung Mobile. It remains to be seen when the fab in Pyeongtaek starts to manufacture DRAM ICs, which are also in short supply nowadays. Keep in mind that 3D NAND and DRAM components are produced using completely different process technologies and the former requires some additional equipment. Therefore, Samsung and other memory makers cannot switch from NAND to DRAM and vice versa without some level of equipment adjustment and reconfiguration of fab space.
At present, Samsung does not talk about the number of wafer starts at the Pyeongtaek fab because it is not operating at full capacity. That said, the plant is not going to have a substantial impact on global NAND supply in the coming weeks or months. Once fully ramped several quarters down the road, the Py
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