SK Hynix said Friday that it has completed construction on a new manufacturing line in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, pledging to turn its memory chip manufacturing factory into a key global production base.
The manufacturing line named “M12” will be an addition to the already-existing M8 and M11 within the plant and it is planned to produce NAND Flash and dynamic random access memory chips, SK Hynix officials said during a celebratory event.
SK Hynix officials take part in a completion ceremony of memory chip manufacturing line M12 in Cheongju on Friday. (SK Hynix)
Although the M12 was mainly built to make NAND Flash memory, widely used in wireless gadgets, it could also come up with DRAM products if there is market demand, said company officials.
The completion of the new chip manufacturing line also indicates that it will be able to produce up to 40,000 of the 300-millimeter wafers on a monthly basis.
“The Cheonju plant has turned into a comprehensive base for semiconductors with the construction of the M12 line on top of M8 and M11,” said SK Hynix chief executive Kwon Oh-chul, asking its employees to take part in the effort to transform it into the world’s finest manufacturing plant.
SK chairman Chey Tae-won also attended the ceremony, stating that the sluggish economic situation may have meant it was time for the firm to discuss its existence rather than its growth, but that the conglomerate decided to take a step forward with the chipmaker.
“Because this factory is considered to be an essential production base, especially the first since the launch of SK Hynix, we hope that SK Group, along with SK Hynix, will make better preparations for the future,” he said.
Chey’s statement comes in line with the chipmaker’s recent moves, such as its overseas acquisitions of a U.S. controller firm Link_A_Media Devices as well as Italian NAND Flash developer Ideaflash. The firm also launched its first commercial solid state drive for consumer use earlier this week.
“The reason as to why SK Hynix is making such a drive is because of the chairman’s special order that the company should turn a crisis into an opportunity and increase its global market share,” said SK Hynix officials.
In the meantime, the new M12 manufacturing line is located on the upper level of M11 and it began construction on its clean room in October of last year. Since then, the company decided to move up its schedule by about two months, putting in the necessary devices beginning in April and conducting pilot operations in the same month.
The other two manufacturing lines ― M8 for 200-millimeter wafers and M11 for 300-millimeter wafers ― began production in 1997 and 2008 at the Cheongju plant, respectively.
By Cho Ji-hyun