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TSMC Offers a Peek at ‘Global Gigafab’ Process Replication Program

At its European Technology Symposium last week TSMC revealed some of the details about its Global Gigafab Manufacturing program, the company’s strategy to replicate its manufacturing processes across its multiple gigafab sites.

The need for large-scale multi-national fabs to have a process in place to replicate their facilities is well-documented at this point. As scaling-up at at the gigafab size means scaling-out instead, chip makers need to be able to quickly get new and updated manufacturing processes ported to other facilities in order to hit their necessary throughput – and to avoid a multi-quarter bottlenecks that come from having to freshly-tune a fab.

Intel, for their part, has a well-known Copy Exactly program, which is one of the company’s major competitive advantages, allowing it to share process recipes across its fabs around the world to maximize yields and reduce performance variability. Meanwhile, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is building additional capacity in different parts of the world, it has reached the point where it needs a similar program in order to quickly maximize its yields and productivity at its new fabs in Japan and the U.S. And in some respects, TSMC’s program goes even further than Intel’s, with an additional focus on sustainability and social responsibility.

“As mentioned at last year’s symposium, [Global Gigafab manufacturing] is a powerful global manufacturing and management platform,” said Y.L. Wang, Vice President of Fab Operations TSMC. “We realise one fab management to ensure our Gigafab to achieve consistent operation efficiency as well as production quality on a global scale. Moreover, we also pursue sustainability across our global footprint covering green manufacturing, global talent development, supply chain localization, as well as social responsibility.”

TSMC’s Global GigaFab Manufacturing
Data by TSMC (Compiled by AnandTech)
Manufacturing Excellence Sustainability
Global One Fab Manufacturing Green Manufacturing
ML-based Process Control Global Talent Development
Manufacturing Agility and Quality Supply Chain Localization
Maximum Productivity Social Responsibility

When it comes to improvements of process technology, there are two main mechanisms: the continuous process improvements (CPI) to improve yields, as well as statistical process control (SPC) reduce performance variations. To do so, the company has multiple internal techniques that rely on machine learning-based process control, constant quality measuring, and various productivity improving methods. With Global Gigafab manufacturing TSMC can use CPI and SPC to improve yields and performance on the global scale by sharing knowledge between different sites.

“When we port a technology from Taiwan to Arizona, the fab set up, the process control system, everything is actually a copy from Taiwan,” said Kevin Zhang, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Overseas Operations Office, and Deputy Co-COO at TSMC.

TSMC yet has to start making chips at its fabs in Germany, Japan, and the United States, so it remains to be seen how fast the foundry will increase yields to Taiwanese levels at its Fab 23 (in Kumamoto, Japan) and Fab 21 (in Arizona) when they begin operations in 2024 and 2025, but with Global Gigafab Manufacturing program in place, this is likely set to happen rather sooner than later.

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