TOKYO Fujitsu Ltd. confirmed that it will build a 300-mm fab, with a total investment of ¥160 billion yen (about $1.5 billion) and volume production reaching 13,000 wafers a month a bit larger than expected.
Fujitsu confirmed on Friday (March 19) that the fab will be built at its Mie plant site, and will begin operation in April 2005 using a 90-nm process. Volume production is expected in September 2005, when Fujitsu expects that the demand for 90-nm devices will take off. The fab will feature a microvibration control and have a seismically- isolated structure, enabling it to withstand and continue operation after earthquakes.
Toshihiko Ono, corporate senior vice president and group president of Fujitsu's Electronic Devices Business Group, said the chip maker will introduce a new business model called "new-IDM," which he said placed it between a foundry and an integrated device manufacturer. Fujitsu will continue developing processors and system-on-chip devices for its own high-end server products as a technology driver. "If a company does not have products that drive technology evolution, it can not establish high level technology," said Ono.
Meanwhile, Fujitsu has enlisted more than ten partners called "leading edge technology" partners. They have evaluated Fujitsu's 90-nm process technology and agreed to work on design and production. Fujitsu will open its libraries and basic IP to those partners. Some will also contribute financing for construction of the 300-mm fab, mostly by paying in advance for their orders. The payments could total ¥30 billion (about $280 million), which will form a part of the total ¥160 billion investment.
Closer collaboration between design and production is required as process technology scales down. Collaboration is easier for IDMs than for most foundries. By working together from upstream designs, Fujitsu's said its IDM strategy will resolve the problem.
Transmeta Corp. is among the partners, and Ono said their collaboration proves the worth of the new-IDM strategy. Matthew R. Perry, Transmeta's president and CEO, said Fujitsu's support enabled Transmeta to achieve major production milestones for its 90-nm Efficeon processor.
For the coming fiscal year beginning in April, Fujitsu said it expects to produce less than 2,500 8-inch wafers per month at its Akiruno line used for 90-nm device production. About half the production there is for partners. The Akiruno line is a 200-mm wafer line used for pilot and early stage volume production.
In 2005, when the new 300 mm fab begins operation, Fujitsu expects production for its partners will increase ten fold. In 2006, production for partners will more than double from 2005, while production of Fujitsu's device is expected to grow modestly, doubling fiscal 2004 production.