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Higher Yields, More Reliable Capacity, and Greener Practices: How Samsung Foundry is Manufacturing Excellence

This article is part of an in-depth series based on keynotes from Samsung Foundry Forum 2022 diving into the latest in foundry solutions and technology.

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The semiconductor foundry business moves at a breakneck speed. Manufacturers of the latest tech are under pressure to move their newest innovations to market quickly to stay ahead of competition, while keeping customers happy with the latest products. The ability to respond to those demands quickly is what sets Samsung Foundry apart in a highly competitive industry – and what makes us an essential partner to our customers. And how we maintain that edge comes down to two important factors: 1) improving manufacturing yield and speed and 2) lowering TAT for our customers. But it doesn’t end there. Every foundry decision is made with a commitment to reducing carbon footprints for us and our customers, using the most sustainable practices to lower our impact. Manufacturing Excellence to Keep Customers Ahead With high-performance computing (HPC) and mobile technologies on the rise, the advanced nodes that power these technologies are increasing in importance. We rely on them to make our devices and data centers work at higher speeds while performing a flurry of exciting new tasks. To meet that rising demand, Samsung has stacked its line-up with a whole suite of advanced solutions to help businesses keep their products at the forefront of innovation, and ahead of the competition. Already we have 5 and 4nm solutions based on breakthrough EUV and FinFET, with 3nm products built with next-generation transistor Gate All Around (GAA) technology. In July, Samsung broke another barrier by beginning mass production on 3nm GAA technology. That makes Samsung Foundry the only company offering a 3nm GAA process.
Working Smaller, So You Can Think Bigger But the more nodes shrink, the more complicated their process becomes. The road from 5nm to 4nm brought new challenges, as new innovations always do. Yield rates for 4nm mass production presented a hurdle, but Samsung Foundry has overcome that hurdle and is now quickly approaching the same yield rate for 4nm as our successful 5nm node – with an even faster learning rate. Still to come are the lower power of 4nm products, which will provide an even higher yield that will go past the possibilities of 5nm. And as the only foundry in the world providing 3nm GAA, Samsung Foundry is already seeing performance improvements of over 50 percent compared to 4nm. As we move to smaller nodes and higher yields, we’re also dramatically reducing our Fault rate, leading to higher customer satisfaction throughout the entire semiconductor arena including automotive, IoT. Finding New Growth in Auto and IoT The growth of smart technologies is leading to a renaissance in semiconductor proliferation. From IoT solutions that keep getting smarter, to vehicles that are more responsive and even drive themselves, demand for semiconductors and specialty technologies is growing – and Samsung Foundry’s capacity is growing with them. Samsung Foundry is right now expanding its capacity to produce the specialty products that power devices as small as wearables, to ones as large as transport trucks. We’re designing products for image sensors that capture sharper images, sensors for wearables that give you more accurate and useful information on health, driver IC, and PMIC. Our growth as a foundry has been nothing short of remarkable. By 2023, our capacity will be 1.5 times what it was in 2019. Amidst that growth is a renewed focus on the 8nm node – a solution that’s been a mainstay for our clients across the specialty technology spectrum. Known as a cost-effective node with superb scalability, it delivers FinFET backed high performance without using EUV. Data Synergy: Stable Quality at Any Node A major limitation of most Fabs is that they only produce a small number of products. They lack diversity in their line-up, and that leads to blind spots in their data. To put it simply, they don’t have enough data on hand for truly meaningful data engineering. Samsung Foundry is overcoming the limitations of low-data volumes through Data Synergy – using large scale data gathered from multiple foundries and products. We’re using that massive pool of data to predict production and yield rates with greater accuracy than ever, an advantage owed to the vast and diverse line of products we produce. Samsung has the largest DRAM fab in the world, providing a depth of data that can’t be recreated elsewhere. From there, IT experts at our DX Center can tap the expanse of Samsung Memory’s data to create predictive models, illustrating them for clients faster and more accurately than our competitors. Those improvements lead to scheduling optimization, productivity improvements, and increased speeds that translate into a faster TAT. That’s all the more important as TAT for advanced products grows longer with the use of EUV and other technologies. Data Synergy can help fast track it, while making the whole process more predictable. New FABs, for New Challenges
Samsung Foundry already has an extensive network of FABs, with major locations in South Korea and the U.S. Now we’re growing that network to bring new nodes and bigger advancements to more customers. In Pyeongtaek, South Korea, we’re expanding our FAB to increase capabilities 1.6 times by 2023. And in Taylor, Texas, we’re launching an all new FAB, with plans to begin operations in 2024. By 2027, we’ll have expanded our overall capabilities 3.3 times over current operations. Green Manufacturing Activities
But even as we grow, we’re keeping our promise to protect the environment with green manufacturing. Samsung Foundry is reducing power consumption in its products to lower carbon footprints for our customers, along with their energy bills, so they can scale responsibly even while having the most cutting-edge nodes powering their servers and products. But it’s not just about power saving solutions – the way we manufacture is also changing. We’re reducing carbon emissions, water usage, discharge, and pollutants from manufacturing, leading the industry in resource circulation and other efforts to cut waste from our process. Samsung Foundry now recycles 97 percent of its waste and is looking to raise that number to 99.9 percent by 2030. Since 2009, we’ve been using carbon footprint certifications on our products to ensure all our processes are guided by the most eco-conscious practices. It’s a necessary step to ensure our growth is handled responsibly with sustainability in mind, and that we can help our customers grow responsibly, too. With massive improvements in speed and reliability, and a list of new FAB locations, we’re manufacturing excellence for our partners across the industry. By improving TAT and yield, we’re getting our customers to market faster, and ensuring their products take users further than ever.

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