Samsung Electronics to Expand Foundry Capacity in Legacy Nodes

Samsung Electronics to Expand Foundry Capacity in Legacy Nodes

Samsung Electronics will expand its foundry capacity in older nodes.

Samsung Electronics will expand its foundry capacity in older nodes starting this year.

The move is aimed at attracting new customers and increasing profitability by increasing mature process production capacity for items such as CMOS Image Sensors (CIS), which are in increasing demand due to a prolonged shortage.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics plans to start volume production of advanced chips on its sub-3nm manufacturing process in the first half of this year.

The company said in its 2021 business report that it plans to expand its mature node capacity in the medium to long term as demand is expected to remain strong.

The company added that it is taking steps to enhance the competitiveness of its products and is closely considering building new factories with timely investments.

It was the first time that Samsung Electronics suggested the possibility of expanding its capacity in the legacy node. Samsung Electronics has been expanding its investment in the system semiconductor industry for years. The company is expected to increase investment to expand legacy nodes this year. In 2021, investment in Samsung Electronics’ facilities hit a record high of 48.22 trillion won and increased 25.3% from a year ago.

Samsung Electronics will also continue to introduce spin-off process technologies that improve performance and cost competitiveness by improving old processes. In October 2021, the company announced that it would increase production efficiency by applying a new 17nm process based on a fine field-effect transistor (FinFET) to the production of image sensors and integrated circuits of mobile display drive (DDI) that were produced on existing 28 nm processes of a flat structure.

So far, Samsung Electronics has focused on developing advanced process technologies rather than legacy processes. However, as the legacy process market has reached an all-time high due to the semiconductor boom, analysts say Samsung Electronics is actively responding to expanding demand by increasing related investments.

In the case of TSMC, the share of legacy nodes, which refer to 16nm or larger chip manufacturing processes, accounted for 50% of its revenue in 2021. Samsung accounts for around 40% of the global advanced process market of 10 nm or less. sector. But its share is much lower in the segment of mature processes.

Samsung Electronics plans to secure up to 300 foundry customers by 2026 and triple production from 2017 levels.

Despite the difficulty in achieving the desired yield, Samsung Electronics has expressed its intention to achieve volume production of its 3nm or less processes without a hitch. Samsung has built the world’s first 3nm process using gate all around (GAA) technology, which is expected to roll out chips in the first half of 2022. Its third-generation GAA-based 2nm process will begin volume production in 2025

The company closed its technology gap with TSMC through volume production of 4nm products in April 2021. “We plan to expand business opportunities by securing overseas business lines and enhancing responsiveness to high-growth markets such as high performance computing (HPC). and automotive markets.