An image of the Fab 5
An image of the Fab 5
[Click to enlarge image]

Toshiba Corp announced July 2, 2013, that it will start the construction of a clean room for "Fab 5 phase 2" at Yokkaichi Operations in Mie, Japan, at the end of August 2013 (press release).

The aim of the construction is to "secure manufacturing space for NAND flash memories fabricated with next generation process technology and for future 3D memories," the company said.

Toshiba plans to finish the construction in the summer of 2014. It intends to decide when to introduce manufacturing equipment as well as production schedule and capacity in consideration of market trends.

From the first, Toshiba planned to start operations of the clean room at two timings so that it can ensure an optimal production capacity at different times in accordance with market trends. It started operations of the clean room for Fab 5 phase 1 in July 2011.

At that time, Toshiba was planning to start the construction for the phase 2 in fiscal 2013 and operations at the end of fiscal 2013 or in fiscal 2014. Therefore, the company has been keeping to the original schedule.

Toshiba mentioned two reasons why it decided to start the construction for the phase 2. First, there is an increasing demand for SSDs used in smartphones, tablet computers, corporate servers, etc. Second, the market is expected to grow in the middle and long term.

"(To respond to the increasing demand,) we will strengthen our business competitiveness not only by securing manufacturing space for 3D memories but also by continuing to develop and apply most advanced process technologies," the company said.

The Fab 5 has a high-efficiency automated transportation system and a quake-absorbing structure. With LED lighting equipment installed in the entire area, energy-saving manufacturing equipment, system for using waste heat, etc, the CO2 emissions of the Fab 5 are 13% less than that of the Fab 4.

SanDisk Corp, which runs Yokkaichi Operations together with Toshiba, also published a news release on the same day (press release). According to the release, the products that will be manufactured in the phase 2 will be the next-generation 2D NAND memories and early generations of 3D NAND memories.