ESTABLISHED DRAM makers may be challenged in 2015 as many manufacturers change their production processes to expand their capacity.
As DRAM market supply tightens, TrendForce analysts with the DRAMeXchange division say an increasing number of DRAM manufacturers are planning to expand their capacity in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Bit supply could grow by nearly 30 percent in 2015 following recent decreases in die size and adjustments of capacity. This could result in oversupply that would eat into producers’ profit margins, posing a challenge to the leading manufacturers in the market.
As it becomes more difficult to migrate towards the 2xnm manufacturing process and the risk of lowered wafer output heightens, an increasing number of manufacturers are making changes to their production processes that may disrupt the industry’s oligopoly structure.
Samsung, for example, will be reserving major portions of its S3 Plant’s capacity ofr DRAM production, with manufacturing operations expected to start by the end of 2014.
In the second half of 2015, Samsung’s maximum S3 DRAM capacity is forecast to reach 60K per month. Based on the worldwide DRAM industry’s existing 1050K/month production rate, this would represent an increase of approximately 5 percent for the entire industry.
In response to Samsung’s production strategy, both SK Hynix and Micron have begun to prepare their own capacity-related adjustments. SK Hynix’s M14 fab, for example, may come online in the middle of 2015.
Micron, too, is anticipated to break away from its usual production routines as it encounters increasing challenges in the 25nm manufacturing process and experiences lower wafer output. It is anticipated to use its Taiwanese subsidiary’s R2 plant more effectively in order to maintain its wafer production levels at 75K/month.