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TSMC resolves capacity problems in 28nm fabrication process

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly fixed capacity issues with its 28nm fabrication process, likely very welcome news for customers like Qualcomm, which has not been able to keep up with demand for its latest 28nm Snapdragon processors introduced earlier this year.

TSMC struggled with boosting its 28nm capacity in the first half of 2012 but is now "seeing orders returning from tier-one customers such as Qualcomm" with those issues being addressed, DigiTimes reported this week.

Due to the capacity issues earlier in the year, the foundry watched as Qualcomm and other customers shifted their orders to competitors like United Microelectronics (UMC), Globalfoundries, and Samsung, the Taiwanese tech site noted. But TSMC now expects to close out the year strongly and for revenue from its 28nm process to represent more than 20 per cent of its overall sales in its fourth quarter.

Qualcomm said in April that demand for its 28nm Snapdragon processors used in a variety of mobile phones was outstripping supply and that the problem might not get corrected until the end of the year.

Steven Mollenkopf, Qualcomm's president and chief operating officer, told analysts during an earnings call that the company was actively looking for other manufacturers with the capacity to supplement Snapdragon production from its main fab partner, TSMC.

Meanwhile, UMC has reportedly been suffering yield issues with its 28nm process, while China's state-sponsored Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) is expected to take its 28nm process into volume production at the end of this year, DigiTimes reported.