Yokkaichi Plant Overview

Address 800 Yamanoisshiki-cho, Yokkaichi-shi, Mie Prefecture 512-8550, Japan
Site area 660,000m2 (not including parking space)
Founded January 1992
Number of employees 6,700 (as of April 1, 2019)
Main products Semiconductor memory devices (NAND flash memory, etc.)
Certification ISO 14001: Acquired in February 1996 and most recently renewed in March 2018
(registration number: EC17J0025)
ISO 9001: Acquired in December 2001 and most recently renewed in December 2016
(registration number: JQA-QMA14628)
OHSAS 18001: Acquired in September 2005 and most recently renewed in March 2017
(registration number: WC05J0004)
IATF 16949: Acquired on May 29, 2018 and effective till May 28, 2021
(registration number: 0307801)

History of Yokkaichi Plant

1992 Founded
1993 Commenced operation of Fab 1
1996 Commenced operation of Fab 2
1999 Commenced production of NAND flash memories
2005 Commenced operation of Fab 3
2007 Commenced operation of Fab 4
2011 Commenced operation of Fab 5 (Phase 1)
2014 Commenced operation of Fab 5 (Phase 2)
2016 Commenced operation of New Fab 2
2018 Commenced operation of Fab 6

20-Year History of Yokkaichi Plant

Thanks to the warm support we had received from many people, Yokkaichi Plant celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012.
This page describes the four five-year periods of these 20 years:

20-Year History of Yokkaichi Plant

Chapter 1 Founding (1992 to 1996)

In January 1992, Yokkaichi Plant, a state-of-the-art memory fab, was founded amid expectations that it would contribute to the growth of the local economy and industry.
Yokkaichi in Mie Prefecture is blessed with a rich natural environment, abundant human resources, and outstanding industrial infrastructure. Starting in 1990, it took two years to prepare the site for the construction of a factory, and the much-anticipated Fab 1 was inaugurated in April 1992.
Following the completion of production lines encompassing both front-end and back-end processes, Fab 1 commenced the production of 16-MB DRAMs in 1993, the first-ever memory product introduced by Yokkaichi Plant.
In 1995, Fab 2 was constructed to increase the production capacity.
Slightly larger than Fab 1, Fab 2 was expected to roll out next-generation products.
Fab 2 began the production of 64-MB DRAMs in 1996.
In addition, Toshiba acquired a stake in Dominion Semiconductor (DSC), a joint venture with IBM, which served as a facility for the front-end process of overseas memory production.
During the 1992-1996 period, Toshiba steadily secured a foothold to expand its memory business.

Chapter 1 Founding (1992 to 1996)

Changes in the Number of Regular Employees at Yokkaichi Operations

  • Changes in the Number of Regular Employees at Yokkaichi Plant

As a result of the expansion of Yokkaichi Plant, the number of its employees increased more than tenfold in five years since its founding—from 134 in 1992 to a little more than 1,400 in 1996.
The employees worked with one accord to establish Fab 2 just five years after the founding of Yokkaichi Plant.

Production Output of Yokkaichi Operations

  • Production Output of Yokkaichi Plant

Since 1993 when Yokkaichi Plant had entered full production, its production output continued to increase because of the smooth development and mass production of DRAMs.
Accompanying the completion of Fab 2, its production output was expected to further increase.

* Baseline year 1993 = 100 on a comparable index

Chapter 2 Ordeal (1997 to 2001)

In 1997, Toshiba launched a technical assistance project for Winbond Electronics in Taiwan.
Cumulative production of 16-MB DRAMs exceeded 100 million units in June 1997.
In 1998, Yokkaichi Plant accelerated the development of next-generation memory products, including 128-MB DRAMs, 256-MB DRAMs, NAND flash, NOR flash, and SRAMs, while substantially increasing the production capacity for 64-MB DRAMs.
In addition, Toshiba founded Yokkaichi Toshiba Electronics, a subsidiary responsible for the back-end process, and constructed a new fab in 1999.
By that year, Yokkaichi Plant had consolidated all the development and production functions for NAND flash memories in addition to DRAMs and SRAMs, further increasing its production output.
In 2000, Yokkaichi Plant was honored by the award of the 32nd Ichimura Prize in Industry for its NAND flash memory, a prestigious prize that commends researchers and engineers who have contributed to the progress of science and technology and the growth of industry. It was the first time in 28 years that Toshiba won this prize.
In 2001, 10 years from its founding, Yokkaichi Plant announced that it would discontinue the production and sales of general-purpose DRAMs because of the IT slump and other reasons and Yokkaichi Toshiba Electronics was dissolved.
Yokkaichi Plant underwent rapid and drastic changes. Facing a severe ordeal, Yokkaichi Plant tackled the challenge of shifting its focus to NAND flash and other high-value-added memory products.

Chapter 2 Ordeal (1997 to 2001)

Changes in the Number of Regular Employees at Yokkaichi Operations

  • Changes in the Number of Regular Employees at Yokkaichi Plant

Although the workforce rose and fell, nearly 2,000 employees had supported Yokkaichi Plant for 10 years since its founding.

Production Output of Yokkaichi Operations

  • Production Output of Yokkaichi Plant

Because of a considerable growth in demand for DRAMs, the production output of Yokkaichi Plant doubled in roughly one year from 1997 to 1998.
However, its production output continued to decline thereafter— over the period of 1999 to 2001—, which was a difficult time for Yokkaichi Plant.

* Baseline year 1993 = 100 on a comparable index

Chapter 3 Recovery (2002 to 2006)

In 2002, Yokkaichi Plant celebrated its 10th anniversary. In that year, Yokkaichi Plant restructured its memory business, changing the organizational structure and enhancing the development and engineering capabilities to focus on NAND flash memories.
In 2003, the increased uptake of digital cameras and camera cell phones led to a dramatic expansion of the NAND flash market.
To meet the growing demand, Yokkaichi Plant hastened to increase its production capacity.
In the same year, Yokkaichi Plant obtained certification for ISO 9001, an international standard for quality management systems, so as to further strengthen its manufacturing foundation.
In 2004, Yokkaichi Plant and SanDisk jointly founded Flash Partners, which began the construction of Fab 3 in April, a 300-mm wafer fab with high production efficiency, and completed it in the following December.
Inaugurated in February 2005, Fab 3 commenced operation one year ahead of the initial schedule.
In that year, Yokkaichi Plant recorded cumulative production of NAND flash memories equivalent to one billion 64-MB devices.
With the progress of multi-level cell (MLC) NAND technology and geometry scaling, Yokkaichi Plant steadily increased the capacity of NAND flash memories in order to meet the needs for data storage.
Yokkaichi Plant maintained momentum, starting the construction of Fab 4 in August 2006, incorporating state-of-the-art equipment.
As a result, its products continued to increase their presence in the worldwide market.

Chapter 3 Recovery (2002 to 2006)

Changes in the Number of Regular Employees at Yokkaichi Operations

  • Changes in the Number of Regular Employees at Yokkaichi Plant

Following the completion of Fab 3 in 2004, the number of employees increased year by year.
Many people collaborated to increase the production capacity.

Production Output of Yokkaichi Operations

  • Production Output of Yokkaichi Plant

Because of the expansion of the NAND flash market, the production output of Yokkaichi Plant increased by roughly 1.7 times in just one year from 2005 to 2006, demonstrating its dramatic recovery.

Chapter 4 Quantum Leap (2007 to 2011)

As a result of the V-shaped recovery, Toshiba’s memory business took off again.
Fab 4, the world’s largest fab at that time, was completed in June 2007. Following an inauguration ceremony in September, Yokkaichi Plant swiftly prepared for mass production. However, despite the hopes of the entire Toshiba Group for Fab 4, Yokkaichi Plant received a severe reprimand from Mie Prefecture for deficiencies in the notification required by the High-Pressure Gas Safety Act.
Yokkaichi Plant made a fresh start, pledging not to repeat the mistake. To prevent recurrence and restore trust, all the employees vowed to prioritize legal compliance and safety.
Under these circumstances, the Advanced Memory Development Center was established at Yokkaichi Plant, which focused on the R&D of next-generation memory products to serve as a lifeline for the future of Toshiba’s memory business.
In a fight for survival, Yokkaichi Plant also decided to construct Fab 5 and started prepaing the construction site in October 2008.
However, concurrently with this move, the semiconductor market began deteriorating, causing the memory business environment to become increasing challenging.
In July 2009, Yokkaichi Plant commenced the production of 32-nm NAND flash memories.
Following the recovery of the market, Yokkaichi Plant started the construction of Fab 5 in July 2010.
Furthermore, Toshiba LSI Package Solutions Corporation (the present KIOXIA Advanced Package Corporation) was relocated to Yokkaichi Plant in order to strengthen the development capabilities of the back-end memory process.
In August, Yokkaichi Plant began the production of high-capacity 24-nm NAND flash memories with the world’s smallest chip size.
In December, 200-mm wafer fabrication was discontinued after 18 years of production of various types of memory devices on 200-mm wafers.
The much-anticipated Fab 5 was completed in April 2011 and inaugurated in July.
In September, cumulative production of NAND flash memories reached the equivalent of 10 billion 1-GB devices.
In addition, in April Yokkaichi Plant started mass production of the world’s first 19-nm NAND flash memories.
Yokkaichi Plant continued to meet the ever-increasing demand for flash memories by shrinking process geometries and improving performance.

Chapter 4 Quantum leap (2007 to 2011)

Changes in the Number of Regular Employees at Yokkaichi Operations

  • Changes in the Number of Regular Employees at Yokkaichi Plant

As a result of the completion of Fab 4 and Fab 5, the production capacity of Yokkaichi Plant increased substantially. In line with this, the number of employees at Yokkaichi Plant also increased.
The workforce of Yokkaichi Plant, which shouldered high expectations of both internal and external stakeholders, had increased by more than 30 times since its founding.

四日市工場 生産高指標

  • Production Output of Yokkaichi Plant

Amid intense global competitions, Yokkaichi Plant maintained stable production output.
Having overcome the global financial crisis that followed Lehman’s collapse in 2008, Yokkaichi Plant anticipated making another leap into the future.

2012 and Beyond

In 2012, Yokkaichi Plant celebrated the 20th anniversary since its founding. We are grateful to local residents and all the other people concerned for their understanding and support.
We will commit ourselves to making a fresh start and work with one accord to achieve further growth while making utmost efforts for the development of local communities.
We would greatly appreciate your continued guidance and encouragement.

Awards

GOOD FACTORY Award from the Japan Management Association

In 2013, Yokkaichi Plant of Toshiba Corporation (the present KIOXIA Corporation) received the GOOD FACTORY Award in the Factory Management segment from the Japan Management Association.
This award is presented to Japanese enterprises in recognition of their productivity and quality improvement activities, fundamental restructuring activities, shop floor innovations, and social action programs regardless of whether they are conducted in Japan or abroad.
The GOOD FACTORY Award consists of four segments: Monozukuri Process Innovation, Monozukuri People Development, Monozukuri CSR, and Factory Management (monozukuri : the art, science and craft of making things).
The Factory Management Award is bestowed on a factory with excellent and well-balanced factory management.
Yokkaichi Plant was honored with this award in recognition of its continuous implementation of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle as well as its environmental awareness and practices.
On October 21, 2013, the General Manager of Yokkaichi Plant was presented with an award certificate at a ceremony held at Tokyo Prince Hotel.

Tomoharu Watanabe, the then General Manager of Yokkaichi Plant, receiving the award certificate in 2013 (right)

Tomoharu Watanabe, the then General Manager of Yokkaichi Plant, receiving the award certificate in 2013 (right)

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