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Realignment of Japan Facilities Key to Micron’s Asia Operations

By Wayne Allan - 2017-04-18

Over the past several months, Micron has been focused on revamping the footprint of our regional operations – including expanding key manufacturing technology development and related activities – to better serve our customers in Asia and beyond. These are part of an on-going effort to improve efficiency, better meet customer requirements, and optimize our world-class manufacturing capabilities around the globe.

Japan is a good example of how we are bringing these goals to life. Micron’s Hiroshima facility is key to our efforts to develop and ramp products for low-power DRAM products – products essential to smart phones and other mobile devices. Once these products achieve yield and performance targets in Hiroshima, the manufacturing process can then be transferred to other sites and output expanded. This enables us to leverage our assets world-wide for optimal cost structure, quality and lower end-to-end product cycle time.

Micron is expanding this process in Hiroshima through a $2 billion investment over the next few years to enhance and extend our competitive capabilities. We also intend to acquire test and probe personnel and capabilities in Hiroshima from Tera Probe, Inc. to bring this capability in-house. Finally, Micron is selling its test and assembly capabilities in the Akita prefecture to Powertech Technology, Inc. (PTI), with continuous employment for the employees at this location with PTI. With these changes, Micron’s DRAM test and assembly capabilities will be located in Hiroshima and Taiwan.  (In parallel, we will be selling our equity stake in Tera Probe to PTI. You can read PTI’s press release here.)

These changes in Micron’s critical Japanese operations are part of a continuing effort to build the best global talent and to develop and deliver the highest possible quality products. Teams in multiple countries – often graduates of leading local universities – offer diverse experience, perspectives, and backgrounds. These capabilities are indispensable in the ever-competitive memory and storage businesses. 

Asia accounts for the majority of Micron’s revenue and is home to our largest manufacturing footprint. The region is also where we have created our manufacturing centers of excellence (CoE), their goals being to maximize yield and efficiency, and reduce cycle-times by combining front- and back-end manufacturing, product engineering and specific technology development roles to most effectively transfer technology and ramp to efficient manufacturing.

Micron’s NAND CoE in Singapore which we formally opened in 2016, drives implementation of our leading-edge 3D NAND production for use in mobile phones, solid state drives, digital cameras and more.  Singapore also works closely with other sites around the world, including our Boise R&D site, currently undergoing an expansion to add 50,000 square feet of cleanroom space this summer.

Boise R&D’s role is to provide early technology transfer for 3D NAND as well as 3D XPoint technologies. This enables faster yield ramp and NAND package development in Singapore, as well as transferring key technology to our 3D XPoint front-end fab in Lehi, Utah.

The lessons learned from our Singapore operations are being used to create a second CoE in Taiwan which will be focused on our DRAM products. This mega-site will combine our existing DRAM wafer fabrication site in Taichung, with new back-end capabilities acquired from Cando Corporation Inc. in 2017, alongside the state-of-the-art wafer fabrication facilities in Taoyuan, acquired from Inotera in 2016. The DRAM CoE will strengthen Micron’s position as the largest foreign employer and investor in Taiwan. 

Elsewhere in Asia the company’s Xi’an, China location recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary and serves as the primary high-volume DRAM fabrication site for Chinese customers. This site is playing an integral part to Micron’s ongoing success in the networking and compute markets.  

Micron is always looking for ways to better serve our customers.  Whether it’s by engaging local technical and management talent or investing in and aligning our manufacturing operations, our Asian sites and team members play a vital role in both our customers’ and our company’s success.

Wayne Allan