Toshiba and SanDisk open fab plant in Japan

Toshiba and SanDisk have opened a new fabrication plant in Japan for production of 300mm NAND Flash memory chips.

The five-floor Fab 5 facility (try saying that ten times fast after a couple of shandies) was opened at Toshiba's Yokkaichi Operations centre in the Mie Prefecture of Japan.

Building began in July 2010 and was completed in March 2011, and now chip production has begun.

The plant uses 24 nanometer process technology, but will switch to more advanced processes over time, including the latest 19 nanometer technology. The first wafers are expected to be produced in August.

Toshiba and SanDisk were keen to point out that the facility employs advanced earthquake-absorbing structures and several power compensation techniques to protect production in the case of a natural disaster, like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier this year, which had a significant effect on the technology industry there.

The facility will also be more eco-friendly than previous plants, employing LED lights and power-saving manufacturing equipment. Toshiba hopes that Fab 5 will produce 12 per cent less CO2 emissions.

The plant is part of the Flash Forward project, a joint venture between Toshiba and SanDisk, which began in September 2010. Toshiba owns a slightly higher share of the venture at 50.1 per cent, but both companies provided funding for the equipment involved.