Taiwanese DRAM maker ups equipment spending

ProMOS to spend $850 million on new plants

Taiwanese DRAM (dynamic RAM) chip maker ProMOS Technologies Inc. plans to spend $850 million on new plants and equipment next year, mainly advanced 12-inch (300-millimeter) wafer production equipment, an executive said Thursday.

The wafer technology enables chip makers to produce more chips on each 12-inch round silicon wafer than they could on older, 8-inch (200-millimeter) wafers. The result is about a 30 percent reduction in manufacturing costs.

The projected spending next year would be higher than 2005's forecasted $700 million, said Min-Liang Chen, ProMOS's chairman, during a meeting with reporters in Taipei.

ProMOS operates two of the huge 12-inch chip plants in Taiwan. One of the plants just started test production and has already produced chips using tiny 90-nanometer etching. Chen projected it would reach output of around 30,000 wafers per month by the middle of next year. Thousands of chips can be etched onto each wafer.