Toshiba has announced it will build a new production facility to relocate its semiconductor operations and redress the problems caused by the 2011 floods and to meet future growth demands. The plant, which will be operated by subsidiary Toshiba Semiconductor Thailand Ltd (TST), will be 135,000 square metres and be due for completion in the spring of 2013, production will begin in the subsequent months.
TST, which was established by Toshiba in 1990, conducts assembly and packaging operations for small signal devices. These devices are responsible for controlling current and voltage in digital products such as smart phones and tablet computers, a sector that has seen rapid growth in recent years. The new facility will also process photocouplers, a component that is widely used in solar PV inverters.
The cost of construction for the plant will predominantly be covered by flood insurance payments and will have minimal effect on Toshiba’s semiconductor business. The new manufacturing plant will be situated 15-20m above sea level and operate outside Thailand's main drainage basins, offering protection against future flood damage.
Toshiba have recently initiated measures aimed at boosting operational efficiency and maximising productivity, these have included transferring the back-end process overseas and changing to larger wafers in the front-end process to increase output.