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Toshiba announces unilateral investment in its Fab 6 manufacturing facility

Due to ever-increasing demands for flash memory, companies have moved away from the traditional, planar approach to designing, instead choosing to go the 3D route. One of the world's biggest such manufacturers, Toshiba, has announced that it would solely invest in its Fab 6 state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.

For those not aware, back in February, Toshiba announced that it had started construction on the newly acquired 150,000m² lot adjacent to its Yokkaichi Operations memory production center in Japan's Mie prefecture. This site is where the company wants to build its Fab 6 manufacturing plant - which will be dedicated only to producing its proprietary BiCS 3D Flash memory - as well as a Memory R&D Center.

Construction will take place in two phases, much like the firm's Fab 5 plant, with Phase-1 slated to be finished by summer 2018. In order to meet this target date, Toshiba Corporation has announced that it would invest approximately 180 billion yen (around $1,6B USD) in Toshiba Memory Corporation (TMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary.

TMC was initially in talks with Western Digital-owned SanDisk for a possible joint investment, but apparently the negotiations failed, and as such, the company just announced that will now solely invest in Fab 6. This development has forced the manufacturer to also add another 15B yen to its initial planned investment for FY2017, bringing the total sum to 195B yen (about $1.76B USD). Regarding the usage of the funds, the company states:

TMC will invest approximately 195 billion yen in Fab 6 in FY2017, covering the installation of manufacturing equipment for 96-layer BiCS FLASH memory in the Phase-1 clean room, and the construction of Phase-2. TMC calculates that proceeding unilaterally with the installation of manufacturing equipment in Fab 6 will require it to increase its funding by 15 billion yen against its initial estimate. Installation is expected to begin as early as December, 2017.

In closing, Toshiba Memory Corporation states that the output of 3D NAND at Yokkaichi is intended to increase to "approximately 90% of its capacity in FY2018".

The fact that SanDisk has not chosen to involve itself in this partnership is a little bit odd, given that its parent company, Western Digital, has previously pointed out Toshiba as one of its partners.

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