How TMSC will increase chip production to further dominate the market


While the semiconductor shortage is still present and the autonomous car is slowly emerging, TSMC will increase its “mature” node production capacity to cater to these markets. And, incidentally, establish your own dominance in the industry a little more?

While 2nm ultrafine engraving is essential for future smartphones, this type of technique is not suited to the chips needed for an ongoing technical revolution: the autonomous car. To meet the needs of this future market, where technological elements could weigh more than 20% of the price of cars by 2030, TSMC will build factories to increase its production capacity by 50% in three years on process objectives. Four sites are under construction, the best known is the future Kumamoto fab, created in collaboration with Sony (Fab 23 Phase 1). Site plus three new fabs on existing sites: Fab 14 Phase 8 (Taïnan) and Fab 22 Phase 2 (Kaoshiung) in Taiwan, and Fab 16 Phase 1B in Nankin, China.

Why so many Fabs? Because when we talk about our future connected / autonomous cars, we plan to integrate up to 1,500 chips! And why not use the current establishments? In addition to the fact that we are in the midst of a shortage of chips (and in particular cars) and that the connected car promises to expand the market, it must be remembered that a car is not a smartphone.
Temperature constraints – and the differences in these temperatures – have nothing to do with this. Nor the critical ones: when your smartphone application crashes, you restart it. An application responsible for trajectory correction for your car should never crash!

Component details and target etching fineness of automotive semiconductors according to TSMC.

The production of “safe” automotive chips requires “safe” manufacturing processes. Understand here that they will have been validated long, through and through, both at -20 ° C in Helsinki and in full evacuation in Villenave D’Ornon. However, validating an electronic chip manufacturing process takes years. Thus, the ” knots »Manufacture of a large majority of car chips, therefore nothing to do with information technology: depending on whether we are talking about LEDs, camera modules, airbag control, LIDAR, etc. the question starts from … 350 nm! Volume processes oscillating between 65 nm and 28 nm. Some chips, particularly in the telecommunications sector (5G), however, require more modern processes such as 6 nm (especially since the know-how derives from the SoC chips of smartphones, for which modems are developed as a priority).

The extensions on the four Asian sites, which therefore add 50% more production capacity, will allow TSMC not only to respond to the market, but also to assert its dominance in the world.

Total domination strategy?

While TSMC is the king of cutting-edge engraving and has made a name for itself as an all-in-one chip foundry for smartphones, Taiwanese also want a bigger piece of the pie for other phone components. Many founders, such as Global Foundries, Samsung or UMC, compete with it on MEMS, image sensors, analog chips, etc. By increasing the production capacity of these nodes, TSMC can control even more of a terminal’s total chips.

Better yet, supporting his clients on both knots sharp e knots mature, TSMC will become the preferred interlocutor to marry them (hybrid chips). But also to develop technologies and knots depending on the needs: it is easier to migrate the IPs – that is the technological bricks, which are developed for the refinement of the target engraving – with the same partner rather than between several founders.


Anand Tech


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