Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) and ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技) yesterday signed a contract by which HP will license its latest computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) process to the nation's third-largest maker of computer memory.
The CIM will be applied in ProMOS' fab 4, which is still under construction in Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區), Taichung, and is slated to start mass production at the end of the year, and also at the adjoining fab 3, the companies said yesterday.
Through the automation project, the twin fabs are expected to have the biggest production of any single plant in the world, HP Taiwan's managing director, Rosemary Ho (
Ho is scheduled to leave the company to pursue other career goals following the announcement of her resignation on Feb. 9.
ProMOS implemented an earlier version of HP's CIM solution in its fab 1 and fab 2 previously.
The latest CIM would further integrate manufacturing process and logistics management, targeting a boost in its production volume without any performance bottlenecks, and support maximum efficiency, said Peter Liu (劉乃文), general manager of HP Taiwan's CIM division.
The system would also accelerate the manufacturing speed for a quick ramp-up to meet fab 4's pilot run, Liu said.
After adopting the CIM, ProMOS expects to see production time reduce by 30 percent to 40 percent, and costs down by 10 percent to 20 percent, chairman Chen Min-liang (
The estimated production volume for the twin fab is 120,000 wafers per month, the highest in a single fab in the world, Chen said.
The capacities of ProMOS' fab 3 and fab 4 would be 60,000 wafers per month each, while the current production volume of fab 3 is under 50,000 wafers, he added.
ProMOS is waiting for the government's approval to manufacture chips using 0.18 micron process technology in its plants in China.
On March 19, Taiwan Semicon-ductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world's largest contract chipmaker, received permission from the Investment Commission to upgrade its production in China to 0.18 micron technology from 0.25 micron.
Chen said ProMOS had filed an application last month, and hopes to obtain approval by the end of the first half of the year.
"We hope the government will speed up the process," Chen said.
Earlier this week, US chip giant Intel Corp announced its plan to build a US$2.5 billion chip factory in China and establish a semiconductor training site, a move that analysts said was good for China's semiconductor manufacturing industry.
Chen said Intel's planned investment would have an adverse impact on Taiwanese chipmakers and showed that China would gain more advanced technologies from foreign companies, if not from Taiwanese makers.
"To prevent China from progressing a half step, we've regressed by three steps," Chen said.
Shares of ProMOS advanced by 2.09 percent to close at NT$12.20 on the GRETAI Securities Market.