[ET NEWS] Tech giant Samsung Electronics plans to convert existing chip lines to double its image sensor production capacity this year in a bid to outshine its rival Sony, according to industry sources on March 15.
The Korean tech firm will transform its Line 13 plant for DRAM chips at the Hwaseong complex into one that produces image sensors in the second half of this year, an industry source close to the matter said.
Since last year, Samsung has been working on a project to switch the Line 11 DRAM plant in the complex into an image sensor line to meet its rising demand. The transformation is expected to be completed later this year.
“The output of image sensors based on 300-millimeter wafers at the lines 11 and 13 can reach up to 120,000 units, up from 45,000 units of the 300mm wafers produced by the company last year,” the source said.
The 120,000 also beats Sony’s estimated annual image wafer production capacity of 100,000 units.
Aside from Sony, Samsung is the only company that commercialized three-layered image sensors stacking a logic chip and a DRAM chip on top of the sensor itself. Developed by Samsung’s system LSI business unit, the sensor enables the Galaxy S9 smartphone to shoot a slow-motion video at 960 frames per second.
Samsung is said to have more than 10 clients in the image sensor business, and it’s also reportedly in talks with global carmakers who are eager to install advanced camera sensors in cars for safety and security reasons.
While beefing up facilities for 300mm image sensor wafers, the Korean chip company plans to simultaneously scale down the production of 200mm wafers. Aiming to cushion the reduced DRAM production, it will additionally build new facilities at the Line 1 DRAM plant in Pyeongtaek and convert part of the Line 16 planar NAND flash memory chip plant in Hwaseong.
Written by Han Joo-yeop (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Edited by The Investor (email@example.com)