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SSMC 200/300mm CMOS Fabs, Singapore




Key Data


SSMC's 200mm Singapore facility is running at 30,000 wafers/month. Systems-on-Silicon Manufacturing Company (SSMC) is based in Singapore's Pasir Ris wafer fabrication park. The US$1.2 billion (S$2 billion) 8-inch fab is a joint-venture between Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Philips Semiconductors and Singapore's EDB Investments.

The fab was constructed in a record time of 11 months, with wafers produced less than 14 months from the groundbreaking in 2001. The fab started with system-on-chip products using 0.25-micron and 0.18-micron processes. SSMC's CMOS Logic ICs are customized to multimedia and digital consumer electronics, telecoms, networking and information technology applications.

HIGH VOLUME CMOS SYSTEM ON CHIP SOLUTIONS

The 200mm fab aims at high volume CMOS system on chip solutions, and employs around 1,000 people. It produced its first silicon only 90 days after the first process equipment was installed. Gross floor area is more than 90,000m² and total wafer processing area is 10,000m².

Demonstrating that the market can support another 200mm CMOS fab, first commercial billing was received just 17 months after ground breaking. Philips Semiconductors and TSMC remarked that the production cycle time and yields from the new fab compare with the best achieved by either company.

NEXPERIA SYSTEM ON CHIP DESIGNS

The fab makes circuits like Philips' Nexperia system on chip ICs. The Nexperia design platform aims to reduce time to market for increasingly complex system on chip ICs. Re-useable blocks of hard- and software intellectual property (IP) can be mixed and matched. A series of silicon system platforms target specific application domains like digital video, digital audio, mobile communications and car infotainment.

Nexperia platforms are scalable, for easy migration from low to high end or high to low end solutions. A high end digital video IC may have the company's MIPS and TriMedia processors with comprehensive peripheral functions. A low end IC can have just one processor and modest peripheral functions but will have similar characteristics and so can have the same architecture. It can also use many of the hardware and software modules and software can run on different processors.

A prototyping architecture allows software to be mapped onto hardware before an IC's specification is finalized. This checks a design before it goes to silicon by providing prototype chips and boards based on the platform architecture. It helps resolve hardware/software trade offs and provides a real time software testing environment before committing to first silicon. Processors and peripherals can be mixed, matched and upgraded for specific performance or low power consumption requirements.

Final designs are implemented with a range of feature sizes and are being produced both at SSMC Singapore and at Philips' MOS4YOU Nijmegen (the Netherlands) fab.

ETCH, THIN FILM, DIFFUSION AND PHOTO LITHO PROCESSES

SSMC (Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company) is a joint venture between Philips Semiconductors, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) and EDBI (Economic Development Board Investments) of Singapore. SSMC was formed with an investment of over $2 billion. The company is working on improving processes like etch, thin film, diffusion and photolithography.

Singapore has over the years grown from a labour intensive region for IC assembly/test and disk drive manufacture (storage products are still about a fifth of Singapore's electronics output) until semiconductors are now running at around 30% and rising. At the 200mm opening the Singapore Government committed to continue its heavy infrastructure investment for the region. It has for example two employment capability initiatives to create a pool of additional engineering expertise.

CONTRACTORS

Opentech Networking provided large scale project management models and systems, helping with technology transfer for the 200mm plant. Technology transfer can be complex in such operations, requiring teams of engineers being sent to work on the parent company production lines for several months.

Lam Research Corporation supplied $33 million worth of systems for multichamber advanced dielectric, poly and metal etch. SSMC ordered multiple three- and four-chamber advanced dual frequency dielectric etch, three-chamber TCP® 9400PTX poly etch and four-chamber TCP 9600PTX metal etch systems. SSMC uses the new equipment to transfer technology from Philips MOS4 and TSMC Fab 5 for high volume production.

Asyst Technologies Inc supplied Singapore's initial fab-wide SMIF automation. The order includes Asyst's SMIF-LPT™ loadports and minienvironments, and SMART-Tags™ lot ID systems and wafer sorters. SSMC uses the Asyst systems to produce SSMC's TriMedia digital consumer processor family.