Sony Continues Expansion of Stacked CMOS Image Sensors Production

TOKYO— Sony said it will invest in its Nagasaki and Kumamoto Technology Centers next year to increase production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors. Sony first announced its plan to expand CMOS production back in January with the purchase of a fabrication facility in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture. (See “Sony Invests $343 Million to Expand CMOS Production Capacity.”)

The Nagasaki and Kumamoto investment is expected to enable Sony to complete stages of production subsequent to the layering and mastering processes, to create a fully integrated production system for stacked CMOS image sensors. This investment forms part of Sony’s mid- to long-term plan to increase its total production capacity for image sensors to approximately 75,000 wafers per month, and is expected to increase the current capacity of approximately 60,000 wafers per month to approximately 68,000 wafers per month in August 2015.

Stacked CMOS image sensors are said to deliver superior image quality and advanced functionality, together with compact size. Demand for these image sensors is anticipated to further increase, particularly within the expanding market for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Sony intends to bolster its manufacturing capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors, and further strengthen its integrated supply operations, and to thereby reinforce its leading market position.

The total investment amount is expected to be approximately 35 billion yen (US$340 million), comprising approximately 9 billion yen (US$90 million) (3 billion/US$30 million for the Nagasaki TEC; 6 billion/US$6 million for the Kumamoto TEC) to be carried out in FY14, and approximately 26 billion yen (US$260 million) for the Nagasaki TEC to be carried out in FY15. Of this, the 9 billion (US$90 million) to be invested in FY14 was included in the forecast of capital expenditure of 65 billion yen ($640 million) for semiconductors in the current fiscal year announced on May 14, 2014.