Kioxia has announced via a press release that it plans to build a new 3D NAND manufacturing facility. The Fab 7 is expected to be co-funded by Kioxia and its long-time partner Western Digital and to be completed by early 2022 with production starting in late 2022 or early 2023. The factory will be located at the Yokkaichi Operations memory production complex in Mie Prefecture, Japan.
The Fab 7 facility will be constructed on the north side of the Yokkaichi Plant. Land development for the fab has already commenced and Kioxia expects to start building the first phase of the factory next spring with the aim to complete by spring, 2022. It usually takes companies like Kioxia a couple of quarters to equip a cleanroom, so expect the first wafers carrying BiCS 3D NAND memory to be made at Fab 7 in late 2022 or early 2023 with higher volume output to commence in the second half of 2023.
Kioxia does not disclose when it intends to build the second phase of its Fab 7, but usually such plans depend on demand and prices of 3D NAND memory.
Traditionally for semiconductor manufacturing facilities located in seismic hazard zones, Kioxia's Fab 7 will have an earthquake absorbing structure. In addition, it will feature an environmentally friendly design that will use energy saving production tools.
Western Digital plans to co-invest in Fab 7 and operate the factory together with Kioxia.
"Our successful 20-year partnership with Kioxia continues to be a strength of the business," said David Goeckeler, CEO of WD. "Our joint memory technology roadmap remains strong with impressive BiCS4 and BiCS5 yields and associated strong cost improvements underpinning our entire portfolio. We also regularly work with Kioxia on future facility planning. To that end, this afternoon Kioxia announced the construction of the shelf Fab 7 in Yokkaichi, which is expected to commence in the spring of 2021. We expect to continue our joint venture investments for Fab 7 and look forward to our ongoing successful partnership."
Kioxia and Western Digital already operate five NAND manufacturing facilities and an R&D center at the Yokkaichi Operations memory production complex, which is the world's largest NAND production site. Three fabs — Fab 2, Fab 5, and Fab 6 — are used to make mass market 3D NAND memory, whereas two others — Fan 3 and Fab 4 — are used to make special purpose memory. In addition, the two companies operate Fab K1 manufacturing facility near Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, Japan.