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Friday, May 10, 2013
TSMC Updates Plans for 18-inch Wafer Manufacturing

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly reiterated plans to build its first 450mm (18-inch) pilot production lines, which will offer FinFET transistor technology at 10nm and 7nm nodes, in 2016-17.

TSMC also hopes to adopt extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography to make 10nm chips, with equipment move-in slated for the end of 2017.

As Digitimes.com reported from Taiwan, JK Wang, VP of operations for 300mm fabs for TSMC, indicated that equipment suppliers were previously hesitant about pouring cash into fab tools for 18-inch wafer manufacturing. However, the industry is now aware of the upcoming transition to 18-inch wafers, Wang said.

TSMC is looking to finish installing most of its required equipment for 18-inch wafer manufacturing by the end of fourth-quarter 2015, and expects to construct its first 18-inch pilot lines between 2016 and 2017, Wang disclosed. In addition, installation of EUV equipment as well as 193nm wavelength immersion scanners is set to complete by the end of 2017, Wang said.

TSMC's 18-inch facilities will enter 10nm and 7nm process generations, Wang noted.

TSMC also said Friday that its consolidated sales for April hit a new record high, mainly due strong demand for mobile communication devices.

In April, TSMC posted NT$50.07 billion (US$1.68 billion) in consolidated sales, the highest monthly level in the chip maker's history. The April figure was up 13.5 percent from March and up 23.5 percent from a year earlier.

TSMC rival United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) also posted NT$10.28 billion in consolidated sales, the highest monthly level so far this year.

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