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Home > News > Industry News > DRAM supply to remain tight in.....

DRAM supply to remain tight in 2018, says DRAMeXchange

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2017-09-21
Global DRAM supply is forecast to grow by less than 20% next year, according to DRAMeXchange.

DRAMeXchange points out that the big three DRAM suppliers – Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron – have opted to slow down their capacity expansions and technology migrations.

This is likely to keep prices at high levels as during this year’s second half.

While overall DRAM demand will remain high in 2018, new fabs being planned will not be ready for mass production until 2019 at the earliest.

Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange, writes:

“Constructing a 12-inch wafer fab will take a least a year, and additional time has to be set aside for equipment installation and trial production runs.”

The latest analysis of the three suppliers’ capacities finds that Samsung’s monthly wafer start volumes are hitting 390,000 pieces on average.

For Samsung, the only fab sites that currently have the extra space for further capacity expansion are Line 17 and a part of the Line 15 plant site. Samsung thus plans to build a second 12-inch wafer fab for making DRAM products in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

SK Hynix is also facing the problem of having insufficient capacity to fulfill its DRAM orders. In terms of capacity planning, SK Hynix has reassigned a part of its M10 fab’s capacity to foundry works instead of making DRAM products.

Due to its old age, M10 will incur higher wafer loss if SK Hynix tries to upgrade its DRAM production to the 18nm process. Fulfilling foundry orders makes more economic sense for this outdated facility.

SK Hynix’s M14 fab is expected to achieve a monthly wafer start volume of 80K pieces by the end of 2017.

A survey of Micron’s DRAM production capacity shows that both its plant in Hiroshima, Japan, and the plant owned by its Taiwanese subsidiary Micron Technology Taiwan (originally Inotera) are running at full capacity.

However, Micron has yet to reveal a plan for a new fab building. In the future, Micron may have to devise a growth strategy that takes account of its limited ability to increase its production capacity.