TSMC demands suppliers deliver equipment in advance for 28nm node

24 Jan. 2013

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) reportedly has demanded its equipment suppliers deliver in advance the front-end equipment needed for its 28nm process due to brisk demand.

TSMC's utilization rate for 28nm processes has stayed above 100% recently, according to industry sources, adding that the foundry has stepped up equipment procurement in order to provide additional capacity for the technology – used mainly to fabricate mobile chips.

Fab-tool manufacturers which have received requests for early delivery include Hermes Microvision (HMI), Advanced Ion Beam Technology (AIBT), ASML, Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron, the sources indicated.

Despite the upcoming new capacity, TSMC is expected to enjoy full utilization of 28nm capacity through the end of 2013, the sources believe.

During TSMC's recent investors meeting, company chairman and CEO Morris Chang remarked that production of 28nm wafers in 2013 will triple that of 2012. Demand for the process technology would be the major driver of TSMC's growth in 2013, said Chang, adding that two-thirds of the total orders for 28nm chips come from the communications sector.

Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, Altera and Xilinx reportedly have placed 28nm-chip orders with TSMC. The foundry has also received orders for the process capacity from MediaTek, Broadcom, Fujitsu Microelectronics, Renesas Electronics and LSI, the sources revealed.

TSMC's available 28nm process capacity has failed to meet demand from several customers, the sources observed. For instance, MediaTek was already informed by the foundry that supply might not fully satisfy demand, particularly that for quad-core mobile processors, until March, the sources disclosed.

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