The Logic Behind Our Record-Breaking Achievements

In August 2010, Samsung began the legwork for the construction of our second 300mm logic fab, S2 line in Austin, Texas. With an investment of over $3.6B, this fab is at the cutting edge of logic semiconductor manufacturing, requiring extreme temperature, humidity and contaminant control while operating hundreds of high-precision manufacturing tools and processes within sub-nanometer control.

The team of engineers and operators in the fab was able to bring up and certify the clean room, install equipment for 40,000 wafers per month, transfer and qualify the 45nm low-power process from the factory in Gihueng, South Korea, and ramp manufacturing output to its maximum capacity with yields as good as the parent fab in Korea in record breaking time.

Having spent much of my career in process engineering and fab operations, I can testify to how difficult this is and offer my most sincere congratulations to my colleagues in Austin for their tremendous accomplishment!

I’m proud to celebrate the fruits of their labor with the completion of our second 300mm automated logic fab and full-capacity ramp. Our S2 logic line is allowing us to meet our growing customer demand for today’s most advanced logic devices and manufacturing services.

For the details on the announcement, I’ve posted the official release below. What are your thoughts on Samsung Electronics’ new S2 logic line? I look forward to reading your comments. 

Samsung’s Austin Logic Line Breaks Record Achievements

December 5, 2011 – AUSTIN, Texas — Samsung Austin Semiconductor announced today that it has successfully completed the establishment and ramp to volume production of its 300mm automated fab, S2, in record time. Within only five months after the initial silicon wafer was produced, the line reached its targeted capacity of 40,000 wafer starts per month in October, 2011.

The S2 line is designed to manufacture devices utilizing Samsung’s advanced low-power logic process technology at the 45 nanometer node. By establishing a synchronized global production network between Samsung’s facilities in Giheung, South Korea and Austin, Texas ahead of schedule, the company is well positioned to meet the requirements of its customers and secures higher operation efficiencies at the same time.

Based on know-how acquired over an extensive period of semiconductor leadership Samsung’s latest Austin fab has ramped to target production in record time.  A semiconductor fab is an extremely clean environment, and it is pivotal that a constant level of temperature and humidity is provided, which requires substantial time and resources. Steve Hah, vice president of Samsung Austin Semiconductor, is heading the S2 line.

“I appreciate all our employees’ hard work and dedicated efforts in the successful implementation of the advanced low-power technology at the new logic line in Austin, in-sync with Samsung’s 300mm logic line in Giheung,” Hah said. “Importantly, this achievement enables us to support customer requirements in a timely manner and enhances customer’s level of confidence with us as well as our advanced production competitiveness.”

After initiating clean room construction for S2 in August 2010, the company completed the qualification of the process in just seven months and has ramped to a production capacity of 40,000 wafers per month in just 5 months, since the first silicon wafer was produced last May. Both the completion of the automated 300mm clean-room fab and the targeted capacity ramp has been achieved in record time.  

To ramp-up capacity to 40,000 wafers per month quickly and most efficiently, equipment installation was done after extensive simulation and technical study to secure uniformity and synchronized operations among equipment, which is critical to maintaining high yields during the expansion to high volume of any manufacturing operation.

In addition, Samsung’s values regarding the pursuit of excellence as well as thorough planning for optimizing equipment and process parameters allowed it to achieve production targets ahead of schedule while meeting the reliability, electronic characteristics, and stable yield rate requirements on its first attempt.  This achievement has enabled Samsung to meet its leading customers’ product requirements and expectations.

“Samsung’s accomplishment further illustrates its commitment to building and maintaining a world-class facility right here in Central Texas,” Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said.

Samsung Austin Semiconductor has grown to more than 2,400 employees in Austin. The company has invested more than $9 billion in its Austin facilities, which is the largest foreign investment in Texas and one of the largest single foreign investments in the United States.


About Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC

Samsung Austin Semiconductor (SAS), located in Austin, Texas, is owned by Samsung Electronics and is the company’s only semiconductor fabrication plant located outside Korea. The complex includes one of the most advanced semiconductor plants in the United States where state-of-the-art NAND flash memory chips and mobile SoCs are made. SAS was the first major Austin corporation to join Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program, which supports alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power, and has one of the most advanced water recycling programs in the industry.