Samsung foundry wins… 14nm roadmap released before TSMC

Choi Si-young, president of Samsung Electronics Foundry Business Division, presents new foundry technologies and business strategies at the ‘Samsung Foundry Forum’ held at the Signia Hotel in San Jose, California on the 3rd. Provided by Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics announced its goal of introducing a 1.4nm process in 2027 to catch up with TSMC, the leader in the foundry market (system semiconductor load production). Samsung Electronics is the first to announce the timing of the introduction of the 1.4 nanometer process. In addition, through the ‘shell-first’ strategy of building factories first, the company plans to expand its production capacity to more than three times its current capacity to absorb increasing customer demand.

Samsung Electronics held the ‘Samsung Foundry Forum’ at the Signia Hotel in San Jose, California on the 3rd and unveiled new foundry technologies and business strategies based on this content. Choi Si-young, president of Samsung Electronics’ foundry business division, said in a keynote speech on the same day, “We have been preparing for a long time by prioritizing four values: foundry technology innovation, the best process for every application, service after to adapt. , and stable production capacity.” Let’s make it happen,” he said. The event, held face-to-face for the first time in three years, was attended by more than 500 customers, suppliers and partners of the foundry division.

Reveals a 1.4nm roadmap ahead of competitors

Samsung Electronics announced a process technology innovation roadmap on the same day, putting pressure on TSMC, a leader in the foundry market. Samsung Electronics announced today that it will continue to innovate GAA transistor technology and introduce a 2nm process in 2025 and a 1.4nm process in 2027. TSMC officially announced the development of 1.4 nanometers in May, but did not announce a specific timetable, and the market expects mass production in 2027-2028. Samsung Electronics went one step further than TSMC by revealing a development roadmap from 2nm to 1.4nm.

GAA is a technology that Samsung Electronics began to develop in the 2000s to take the lead in the foundry market.. The 3nm process began its development in 2017, and in January, the world’s first 3nm first generation process began. According to the company, the speed of manufactured products was improved by 23%, power consumption was reduced by 45%, and the area was reduced by 16%. “In the case of 3nm, TSMC is based on FinFET technology, but we are based on GAA technology,” said Kang Moon-soo, vice president of Samsung Electronics’ Foundry Business Unit.

In the field of packaging technology, we intend to accelerate the development of 2.5D and 3D heterogeneous integration technologies. Samsung Electronics plans to provide high-performance semiconductor foundry services by applying its own MBCFET structure to 3nm GAA technology and providing 3D IC solutions. In package stacking technology, the HBM2 high-bandwidth memory was released in 2015, followed by I-Cube (2.5D) in 2018 and X-Cube (3D) in 2020. It plans to mass-produce the X-Cube micro-bump- type in 2024 and the introduction of the lump-free X-Cube in 2026.

Respond to growing demand by building a factory first

In order to respond to the recent surge in demand for semiconductors, a new approach to expanding production capacity is introduced. He revealed a ‘shell-first’ strategy that can rapidly expand production capacity. The plan is to build a ‘shell’ equivalent cleanroom first, and then flexibly invest in facilities in line with market demand. Until now, the line was made on demand after the customer placed an order, but in the future, it is planned to make the line first.

The plan is to proactively expand production capacity to actively respond to customer demand. It’s like building a hotel first and then selling rooms to customers. While there may be concerns about a drop in demand after large-scale investment, it is also an expression of confidence that demand can be adequately met due to the recent global shortage of semiconductors.

Samsung Electronics is currently planning to proceed with ‘Shell First’ from the second line to be built in Taylor, Texas. Through this strategy, advanced process manufacturing capacity will more than triple by 2027 compared to this year.

Expanding customers to automotive semiconductors, etc.

Samsung Electronics plans to expand its existing foundry business customers into low-power, high-performance semiconductor markets such as high-performance computing (HPC), automotive semiconductors, 5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Currently, more than half of the total sales are oriented towards mobile phones. Samsung Electronics plans to secure more customers such as HPC and automotive semiconductors and fill more than half of its total sales in these non-mobile areas. The aim is to further increase sales by diversifying customers.

In the field of HPC, mass production of the world’s first 3-nano process semiconductor in June. The 4-nano process will also be expanded to HPC and automotive semiconductors.

In the fields of eNVM (Embedded Non-Volatile Memory) and RF (Radio Frequency), it has decided to respond to customer demand by developing various processes. It is expanding the currently mass-produced 28-nano vehicle eNVM solution to 14-nano in 2024, and is also developing technology for future 8-nano solutions. In the RF process, he succeeded in mass producing 8-nano RF products for the first time in the world following the 14-nano RF process which is currently being mass produced. A 5nm RF process is also being developed.

Silicon Valley = Reporter Ki-Yeol Seo philos@hankyung.com

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