TOKYO — Taiyo Nippon Sanso will add a new plant to produce gases for semiconductor manufacturing in China, where the next generation of memory chip technology is poised to create massive demand for such material.
Japan’s leading industrial gas producer aims to start turning out diborane, used in chip production, at the Jiangsu Province plant in 2019. The factory also will purify other specialty gases such as fluoromethane. Investment in the project is expected to total 3 billion yen to 4 billion yen ($26.7 million to $35.6 million).
Taiyo Nippon Sanso targets more than a 50% share in China’s diborane market. The country likely will see a surge in output of 3-D NAND flash memory — whose production requires a large amount of the gas — in the coming years, with more than 10 new chip plants slated to start operations by 2020.
The new plant will make China the fourth nation in Taiyo Nippon Sanso’s production network for gases used in semiconductor manufacturing. The company also intends to add production capacity to a gas plant in South Korea by January.
Taiyo Nippon Sanso’s Shanghai subsidiary soon will take control of data related to affiliates’ dealings with major semiconductor makers overseas. This unit will analyze gas consumption and output plans at the plants of those customers around the world, letting Taiyo Nippon Sanso run its own operations, including gas production, more efficiently.
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics was the first company to mass-produce 3-D flash memory, in which layers of memory cells are stacked on a silicon base to provide higher memory capacity and better performance in a compact package. But other producers are making strides in this 3-D chip technology, which might account for the majority of chip production by 2020. Demand for new types of materials and greater quantities of existing materials will present sizable opportunities for the companies such as Taiyo Nippon Sanso that provide them.