Toshiba today outlined a schedule for the construction of a new fabrication facility at Yokkaichi Operations in Mie, Japan, for expanded production of BiCS FLASH, its proprietary 3D Flash memory.
The Japanese company will start construction of the new plant in February 2017. The fab will be dedicated to 3D Flash memory processes. Like Toshiba's Fab 5, it will be constructed in two phases, in order to optimize the pace of investment against market trends, with completion of the first phase to be expected by summer 2018. Toshiba also plans to construct a new building adjacent to the new fab, the Memory R&D Center. This will bring together research development activities now carried out in different locations, a move that will promote flash memories development.
Toshiba expects to continue its joint investments in and operations of the flash joint venture based on discussion with Western Digital in the new facility.
The new fab will have a quake absorbing structure and an environmentally friendly design that includes LED lighting throughout the building, plus the latest energy saving manufacturing equipment. It will also introduce a production system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to boost productivity.
Annual profit forecast lifted
Toshiba also raised its annual operating profit forecast by 50 percent, saying it expects demand for its NAND flash memory chips to remain strong for the rest of the business year.
The group now expects an operating profit of 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) for the year ending in March. It had previously forecast a 120 billion yen profit.
"We expect this trend for the memory chip market to continue in the second half of the business year," Toshiba said in a statement.