Josephine Lien, Taipei; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES [Tuesday 18 April 2017]
The global output of 3D NAND flash memory chips is set to expand substantially in the second half of 2017, and will exceed that of 2D NAND chips in the fourth quarter of the year, according to industry sources.
Major NAND flash suppliers including Samsung Electronics, Micron Technology and Toshiba have rolled out 64-layer 3D NAND flash products, said the sources. SK Hynix has even introduced what the company claims is the industry’s first 72-layer 3D NAND flash chips.
Nevertheless, yield rates for these major suppliers’ 3D NAND technology have been unstable since 2017, the sources pointed out. Meanwhile, as the chipmakers put increased focus on transitioning to 3D NAND, their output for 2D NAND has reduced substantially. As a result, the global supply of NAND flash memory has been tight since 2017, but the chip shortage is expected to ease in the second half of 2017, the sources said.
Samsung, which has relatively stable yield rates for 3D NAND technology, is expected to scale up its output of 3D NAND chips significantly between May and June, the sources indicated. The vendor will likely start operating a new plant in Pyeongtaek in July to further expand its 3D NAND production capacity.
Meanwhile, yield rates for other NAND flash vendors’ 3D NAND technology are set to improve substantially boosting their chip shipments in the second half of 2017, the sources indicated. Micron, for example, will start producing 64-layer 3D NAND chips in the second quarter with mass shipments ready for the second half of the year.
With major chipmakers gearing up for mass shipments, the global output of 3D NAND chips is expected to exceed that of 2D chips in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the sources.