Sony to ramp CMOS image sensor production

February 03, 2015 // By Peter Clarke
Sony is spending in FY15 on image sensor production to meet smartphone demand and reinforce its number one position, while closing down an IC development site.

Sony Corp., the world's leading supplier of CMOS image sensors, has said it will invest 105 billion yen (about US$895 million) in the next financial year to increase its production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors.

Sony said it would take production across three production sites current level of approximately 60,000 wafers per month to approximately 80,000 wafers per month by the end of June, 2016. Previously Sony had a mid-term target of 75,000 wafers per month but demand for sensors in smartphones has prompted Sony to accelerate its investment, the company said.

The investment will take place at Sony Semiconductor's Nagasaki Technology Center ("Nagasaki TEC"), Yamagata Technology Center ("Yamagata TEC"), and Kumamoto Technology Center ("Kumamoto TEC"). The investment of approximately 105 billion yen comprises approximately 78 billion yen for Nagasaki TEC, approximately 10 billion yen at Yamagata TEC and approximately 17 billion yen in Kumamoto TEC.

Sony also announced a plan to close its Oita Technology Center by the end of March 2016. Oita TEC is a base for the development and production of high-density ICs.

Oita TEC began in 1984 as a production site for memory packaging, but in recent years its primary focus has shifted to the development and production of advanced packaging for LSIs used in game consoles. Oita TEC's approximately 220 employees are scheduled to be transferred to other sites engaged in the production of image sensors or to other Sony Semiconductor sites that will take over some of the operations of Oita TEC.

Sony said it is increasing production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors to reinforce its leading position in the image sensor market.

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