Aizuwakamatsu, Japan Spansion Inc. on Wednesday (Sept. 18) disclosed that it has moved into limited production in the world's first 300-mm NOR flash-memory fab.
The $1.2 billion fab, dubbed SP1, has been in the planning stages for some time. The 300-mm plant is located here, just outside of Tokyo.
The company the world's largest NOR supplier hosted a fab tour for press and analysts. As expected, Spansion plans to begin producing 65-nm MirrorBit products in somewhat larger production lots by the end of 2007, followed by 45-nm devices in 2008.
Bertrand Cambou, president and CEO of Spansion, said that the company is ramping the world's first NOR flash fab. The 300-mm "has been design for 45-nm production, with 32-nm in mind," he said during a press event. SP1 ''will bring us to the 20-nm node.''
The fab is expected to ramp in phases. In the first phase, the fab has a total capacity of 15,000 to 20,000 wafers a month. Total capacity of the fab is 30,000 to 40,000 wafers a month.
MirrorBit is the brand name for Spansion's flash memory technology. It is said to be different and more advanced than conventional multi-level cell (MLC) and single-level cell (SLC) floating gate technology. Unlike rival technologies, MirrorBit can scale to ''below 25-nm,'' Cambou said.
With the 300-mm fab, Spansion appears to be one step ahead of the competition, including a new joint NOR venture between Intel and STMicroelectronics, said Jim Handy, principal analyst with Objective Analysis (Los Gatos, Calif.), a market research firm.
With SP1, Spansion will be able to reduce is production costs, said Handy. "MirrorBit is cheaper than floating gate," Handy said. "300-mm is cheaper than 200-mm" in terms of production costs.
Now, Spansion (Sunnyvale, Calif.) boasts three production fabs. The SP1 fab is situated next to JV3, a 200-mm plant in Japan. JV3 is Spansion's primary producer of 110-nm MirrorBit devices.
The company's so-called Fab 25 plant is located in Austin, Texas. With more than 120,000-square-feet of Level 1 clean room space, Fab 25 manufactures Spansion's MirrorBit products, based on 90-nm process. The 200-mm fab will produce 65-nm parts by year's end on that fab.
The company also has a foundry agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC). Recently, the company completed the sale of its older JV1 and JV2 fabs for approximately $200 million to Fujitsu Ltd. of Japan.