A semiconductor fabrication plant, commonly called a fab, is a facility where semiconductor devices are manufactured. Today there are two classifications of companies that own/operate fabs: Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDMs) and Dedicated Foundries.

Integrated device manufacturer (IDM) is a semiconductor company which both designs and manufactures integrated circuit (IC) products. IDMs also sometimes offer unused capacity for merchant foundry operations as well (IBM, Samsung and Intel).

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IDM 2010 Revenue:
(1) Intel $40b
(2) Samsung $32.6B
(3) Toshiba $13.4B
(4) TI $13B
(5) Renesas $11.8B
(6) Hynix $10B
(7) STMicro $10B
(8) Elpida $7B
(9) Infineon $6.2B
(10) Sony $5.6B

Dedicated Foundry refers to the separation of a semiconductor fabrication facility from IC design.

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Foundry 2011 Revenue:
(1) TSMC $14.5B
(2) UMC $3.8B
(3) GFI $3.5B
(4) SMIC $1.5B
(5) Dongbu $512M
(6) Tower/Jazz $509M
(7) Vanguard $505M
(8) IBM $500M
(9) MagnaChip $405M
(10) Samsung $390M

Fabless semiconductor companies only do IC design and are customers of dedicated foundries.

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Fabless 2011 Revenue:
(1) Qualcomm $9.9B
(2) Broadcom $7.2B
(3) AMD $6.6B
(4) Nvidia $3.9B
(5) Marvell $3.4B
(6) Mediatek $3B
(7) Xilinx $2.3B
(8) LSI Corp $2B
(9) Altera $2B
(10) Avago $ 1,3B

Currently there are three general categories of Fabs: MiniFab, MegaFab, and GigaFab.

MiniFab has an average monthly production capacity of 10-30k wafers, costs about $1B to build, has high operating costs, limited flexibility in regards to technology offerings, limited ramping agility, long manufacturing cycle times, and limited delivery precision.

MegaFab has an average monthly production capacity of 30-80k wafers, costs $3-4B to build, has average operational costs, average flexibility in regards to technology offerings, average ramping agility, average manufacturing cycle times, and average delivery precision.

GigaFab has an average monthly production capacity of 80-100k+ wafers, costs $8-10B to build, low operational costs, high flexibility in regards to technology offerings, high ramping agility, short manufacturing cycle times, and high delivery precision. Other characteristics of a GigFab include highly automated materials handling systems, manufacturing execution systems, and sophisticated yield handling systems.

TSMC currently operates two 300mm GigaFabs (Fabs 12 and Fab 14), with a combined capacity reaching 721,000 12-inch wafers in the fourth quarter of 2010, supporting 0.13-micron, 90nm, 65nm and 40nm process technologies. One additional 300mm GigaFab facility (Fab 15) is under construction and is expected to go on line in 2011. All three GigaFabs are located in Taiwan. In addition the company has four 200mm fabs (fab 3, 5, 6, and 8). TSMC also manages 200mm fabs at wholly owned subsidiaries: WaferTech in the United States and TSMC China Company Limited, and its joint venture fab, SSMC in Singapore.

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UMC currently operates two 300mm MegaFabs. Fab 12A in Taiwan with a capacity of 35,000 wafers per month. UMC's second 300mm fab, Fab 12i, is located in Singapore, with capacity at 33,000 wafers per month. In addition the company has six 200mm fabs in Taiwan and one in Japan. The Japan UMC fab accounts for 3-5% of the company's total capacity.

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currently operates two 300mm Fabs. Fab 1 in Dresden Germany cost more than $7 billion and has a maximum capacity of 80k 300mm wafers/month operating at 45nm process technologies and below. Fab 7 located in Singapore has a maximum capacity of 50k 300mm wafers/month at 0.13-micron to 40nm process technologies. Fab8 is being built in Saratoga County, NY. Construction began in July 2009 and maximum capacity of 60,000k 300mm wafers/month operating at 28nm technologies and below. In addition the company has four 200mm fabs in Singapore (fabs 2,3,5,6).

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SMIC currently operates a 300mm fab in Shanghai and two 300-millimeter wafer fabs in Beijing. SMIC also manages and operates a 300mm wafer fab in Wuhan owned by Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation. The company also operates five 200mm fabs in Shanghai and Tanjin and has one 200mm fab under construction in Shenzhen. All fabs are located in China to better serve the Chinese market. The SMIC 200mm wafer capacity is 150k per month. 300mm capacity is: 130/90nm 20k per month, 65/55nm 60k per month, 45/40nm 50k per month, 32/28nm 60k per month.

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Top Ten Semiconductor Capex Spenders 2011
(1) Intel $9.3B
(2) Samsung $9.2B
(3) TSMC $7.8B
(4) GlobalFoundries $5.4B
(5)Hynix $3.0B
(6) Toshiba $2.1B
(7) Micron $2.0B
(8) UMC $1.8B
(9) SanDisk $1.6B
(10) ST $1.5B


Semiconductor Process Geometries:

TSMC Fab 12 Video Tour

Semiconductor Manufacturing Steps:

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  1. Wikipedia
  2. TSMC
  3. UMC
  4. GlobalFoundries
  5. SMIC
  6. TSMC GigaFab Tour!