LONDON Chip foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has broken ground for the third phase of its Fab 15 wafer fab in the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung, Taiwan.
TSMC has said it will spend about $10 billion on all four phases of Fab 15 with a total capacity of more than 100,000 12-inch wafers per month.
The third phase unit bigger than most other companies' whole fabs is being brought up to manufacture ICs on 300-mm diameter wafers using 20-nm process technology. The manufacturing capacity is set to be 40,000 wafer starts per month and the products to be made there include, application processors, graphics processors, main processors and FPGAs.
TSMC began construction on Phase 1 of Fab 15, in July 2010, and completed moving in equipment in mid-2011 with volume production scheduled for early 2012. Phase 2 started construction in mid-2011 and is also expected to begin volume production in 2012.
TSMC did not indicate when chip production is scheduled to start out of phase 3. But given a similar timeline to the previous two modules it would be mid-2013. Fab 15, Phase 3 will be TSMC's second gigafab equipped for 20-nm process technology.
Fab 15 Phases 1 and 2 together are forecast to generate as much as $3 billion in revenue per year once they enter volume production. Phase 3 is expected to reach a similar scale.
The groundbreaking ceremony was led by Morris Chang, chairman and CEO of TSMC.
Fab 15 Phase 3 has been designed with water reuse in mind. It has a 90 percent water recycling rate and will use 62 percent less water and 5 percent less power than wafer fabs built previously, TSMC said. In addition, Fab 15, Phase 3 has a planned rainwater collection surface of 40,000 square meters.
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