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Friday, August 04, 2006
Toshiba and SanDisk Mark Construction Start of 300mm Wafer Fab for NAND Flash Memory at Yokkaichi Operations

Toshiba and SanDisk today announced that, further to definitive agreements that the companies entered into in July 2006, construction has started of Fab 4, a 300-millimeter (mm) wafer fab, in Yokkaichi, in Mie Prefecture, Japan.

The NAND flash memory is uses in a wide range of digital electronic applications, including MP3 music players, mobile phones and several kinds of memory cards. Toshiba and SanDisk started operation of a state-of-the-art 300-millimeter (mm) wafer fab, Fab 3, in summer 2005, at Yokkaichi Operations, and have boosted the facility's capacity to meet market demand. Today;s start of construction reflects the need for a new facility, in parallel with expansion of Fab 3, in order to meet anticipated demand for NAND flash memory products in 2008 and beyond.

Investment in Fab 4 over the two years from April 2006 to March 2008 is expected to reach about 300 billion yen. Toshiba will fund construction of the building and Flash Alliance, Ltd., a new joint venture between Toshiba and SanDisk for Fab 4, will fund the fab's advanced manufacturing equipment. The production output from Fab 4 will be equally shared between Toshiba and SanDisk.

Fab 4 is expected to come on line in the fourth quarter (Oct-Dec) of 2007, with an initial capacity of 2,500 wafers a month. It is currently estimated that the capacity of 67,500 wafers a month will be reached by the fourth quarter of 2008. At the time of production start-up, Fab 4 is intended to employ cutting-edge 56-nanometer (nm) process technology and to subsequently migrate to finer geometries.

In order to limit impact on operations from natural disasters, Fab 4 will adopt the latest earthquake-absorbing structure that is expected to dampen quake force by almost two-thirds. It will also deploy superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) that is designed to be triggered instantaneously by any sudden, momentary loss of power supply, from a lightning strike for example, to prevent any impact on production.

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