Samsung is planning to build pilot lines by the end of the year for its planned new fabs in South Korea and the US, TheElec has learned.
The pilot lines will be built at P4 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, and another one in Taylor, Texas. Samsung recently shared these plans with its suppliers for the fabs and construction of these lines is expected to start late in the year.
A pilot line is usually built three months before the main production line is built when it comes to fabs, or chip production facilities.
Pilot lines usually have one to two units of machines needed in the main line.
A newly built fab always has a pilot line at the start as they usually adopt advanced processes that have yet to be commercialized.
For NAND, these could be more layers. This is the same for logic chips that are migrating from 4nm to 3nm __ which usually means potentially more layers and processes.
The fab to be built at Taylor is brand new; Samsung said it will be a foundry fab to make customers’ 5G, AI, high-performance computing, and other advanced chips.
P4 is an additional fab at Samsung’s Pyeongtaek chip complex that already houses multiple fabs.
P4 is being designed to make both memory and logic chips. Like Samsung’s previous mixed lines, such as P3, the memory production line is expected to be set up first.
This is more likely as due to the US and China’s trade war, Samsung will unlikely expand memory production through its facility in Xi’an. Memory lines are also generally longer and produce in bulk.
Samsung is expected to start commercial chip production at P4 and Taylor sometime in 2024, once the main production lines are completed.