SK Hynix has formed a new group that will focus on development of fab equipment technologies, TheElec has learned.
The South Korean memory maker had hired an outside expert and named them an executive vice president to lead the fab equipment development group.
The group will be under direction supervision of Jin Kyo-won, president and chief product and production officer (CPO). The group’s performance will be reported directly to Jin.
They will research circuits, processes, data signal processing of equipment, and measuring systems.
SK Hynix had smaller teams in the past that worked on the same areas but they were not led by a high-level executive.
The new group is a combination of these past smaller teams.
There was a consensus within the company that there was a need to understand equipment to maintain its competence, people with direct knowledge of the matter told TheElec.
Understanding equipment would allow the company to designate proper work and raise questions related to the area, they said. The group will work to expand collaboration with fab equipment makers abroad while closely working with local companies in the development of equipment, they added.
SK Hynix is gearing up to start construction of a new fab at Yongin, where the South Korean government is planning to form a new semiconductor cluster. The project is expected to start later this year.
The construction for the first stages of the fab is expected to be completed in 2025.
SK Hynix’ M16 fab at Icheon, which was completed in February, is expected to start DRAM production in June. The company is putting in additional equipment into the fab. M16 will have a line that uses the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) process.
SK Hynix is expected to spend over 10 trillion won in facilities this year. The firm is also planning to complete its acquisition of Intel’s NAND unit by 2025.
Samsung Electronics also has a production technology lab that researches fab equipment and related materials. The lab collaborates with subsidiary Semes to develop their own fab equipment.