SK hynix completes M16 fabrication plant in South Korea

The $3.1 billion build took 25 months and features SK's first use of the extreme ultraviolet lithography equipment

M16 in Icheon campus, South Korea

SK hynix has held a completion ceremony for its new fabrication plant M16 at headquarter located in Icheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

"I was worried when we decided to build M16 two years ago as the overall semiconductor memory was amid downturn back then. However, as the industry anticipates positive market condition upcoming it seems that our bold decision of the past will lead us to the better future," said SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won said at the ceremony. "M16 shall remain as a symbol not only for the completion of company's another broad plan, but also for the beginning point of Yongin Semiconductor Cluster."

Chey also expressed his encouragement: "The completion of M16 was only possible thanks to many people's contribution. I'm certain that it is time for M16 to return their favour and devote to create their happiness. I urge each and every one of us to consider not only the creation of economic value, but also the ESG-related measures to grow together with our partner companies, protect our environment, and contribute to the development of the local communities."

Since the initiation of the M16 construction in November 2018, SK hynix has invested a total of 3.5 trillion South Korean won ($3.1 billion) and construction manpower of 3.34 million workers, which led to the completion in 25 months.

M16, which will be a manufacturing site mainly for DRAM products, boasts a building area of 57,000 sqm, equivalent to the size of eight soccer fields.

The M16 plant is 336 m long, 163 m wide, and 105 m high, reaching the height of the 37th floor of an apartment building. This is the largest among the domestic and overseas production sites of SK hynix.

What's more special about M16 is its introduction of the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment for the first time in SK hynix.

Part of a bigger plan

The company plans to grow this plant as a next-generation growth source based on the cutting-edge infrastructure. It plans to produce 1a nm DRAM products from the second half of this year by utilising the EUV equipment. Also, the company plans to increase the utilisation of this equipment in the future to further strengthen the technology leadership in the advanced processing of semiconductor memories.

The completion of M16 is also significant in that it is an early achievement of SK hynix's "Future Vision" announcement at the M14 plant completion ceremony in Icheon in 2015. At that time, SK hynix announced its plan to build three new plants including M14 in Korea within 10 years from 2014 in order to secure continuous leadership in the semiconductor industry.

After that, following the completion of M15 in Cheongju, South Korea in 2018, the company built M16 plant, completing the Future Vision three years earlier than expected.

Seok-hee Lee, CEO at SK hynix said: "M16 is a complex manufacturing plant where cutting-edge infrastructures such as dedicated space for EUV equipment and advanced pollution reduction facilities are concentrated. It will become a production plant of a higher level that contributes to the ESG management as well as creating economic value."

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