Fri, Nov 09, 2001 - Page 17 News List

TSMC decides to build five new chip plants in Tainan

By Dan Nystedt  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufac-turing Co (TSMC, 台積電) will build five state-of-the-art chipmaking plants in southern Taiwan, proof that lingering fears that a nearby high-speed railway could impact production are unfounded, science park officials said yesterday.

"After a thorough analysis of the impact of vibrations caused by the high-speed rail on their manufacturing process, TSMC is confident they can overcome the problem ... They will build five 12-inch wafer manufacturing plants in the park," said Tai Chien (戴謙), director of the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park (台南科學園區). The new plants will all be located in the park.

Two weeks ago, TSMC officials said a thorough investigation into the impact the vibrations from the a planned high-speed railway on their chip manufacturing revealed the problem could be easily corrected. In light of the findings, they resumed construction on a 12-inch plant already in the park and announced a new investment plan.

TSMC intends to spend NT$700 billion (US$20 billion) over the next several years on six new 12-inch wafer fabrication plants, or fabs as chip plants are known. One of the new fabs will be located in the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park (新竹科學園區), while the other five are slated for the Tainan park.

Each of the new fabs will cost over NT$100 billion to construct, signaling the firm is confident the vibration problem has been resolved. TSMC and other Taiwanese chipmakers stopped or canceled a number of planned facilities earlier this year over fears that vibrations from the Taiwan High-Speed Railway Corp (台灣高鐵) might impact the sensitive chip making process. On its way from Taipei in the north to Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan, the line passes close by the Tainan science park.

TSMC's own study found that through simple engineering steps, the effects of the high-speed rail vibrations on its chip plants could be eliminated. The company spent six months researching the problem in conjunction with engineers from Taiwan High-Speed Rail and outside specialists from academia, and the professional community.

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