Kingston Factory Tour (Hsinchu, Taiwan)

by MAC     |     July 29, 2010

Kingston Factory Tour
(Hsinchu, Taiwan)

Before we begin, for those of you unfamiliar with Kingston, they are the largest independent memory manufacturer in the world, by far. Starting from very humble beginnings in 1987, Kingston is now one of the 100 largest privately-held companies in the world, has annual revenues over $4 billion, and around 4,500 employees worldwide. According to iSuppli, Kingston held a 40% share of the DRAM market in 2009. To put that into perspective, the closest competitor, A-DATA, came in at only 7.4%. They are also ranked second in the USB drive market and third in the flash market. The reason this is so impressive is that Kingston is an independent memory company which means that they aren't affiliated to any of the large memory chip makers (Elpida, Hynix, Micron, Samsung, Toshiba, etc), nor do they fabricate their own ICs. Instead Kingston buys memory chips and assembles various memory products at their four global manufacturing facilities, one of which is the Hsinchu factory that is the focus of this article.

Click on image to enlarge

Early last month during the Computex 2010 expo a group of journalists from Europe and North America got an opportunity to check tour Kingston's manufacturing facility in Hsinchu, Taiwan to see get an inside look at how flash media and DIMM modules are manufactured, assembled and tested. This city is about an hour southwest of Taipei, and it is home to an industrial park hosting some of biggest factories and most important companies in Taiwan such as BenQ, D-Link, Logitech, Lite-On, Logitech, Powerchip, ProMOS, Realtek, TSMC, and UMC.

Regrettably, just as we pulled up the skies opened up and it started raining, so it was not possible to get a proper picture of the front of the building, but here is a stock photograph of Kingston's Taiwan-based Hsinchu factory. Although the factory is not particularly wide it is surprisingly long, and you will see why in the coming pages.

Click on image to enlarge

Kingston had programmed their welcome sign to list the name of all the journalists present or at least all of those who were supposed to be present. Everyone took pictures of and huddled around this sign like moths to a bugzapper, yours truly included.

Next we walked into the spacious lobby where we collected the visitor badges that we needed to wear in order to gain access to the factory area. Once we passed the security check point, we were ushered to a conference room on the second floor where we were given full length white coveralls and disposable booties. Needless to say that cleanliness is imperative in a manufacturing environment. Once we had our new attire on, the group was split into three each with its own tour guide.

In the following pages we'll check out Kingston's memory module manufacturing process, their quality assurance labs, flash assembly & testing, as well as the packaging & shipping floor.

Latest Reviews in Articles
March 22, 2015
The North American stop of the HWBOT World Tour 2015 rolled into Montreal on March 6, 7 and 8. This overclocking competition took place during the huge LanETS....
September 16, 2014
As you have all noticed, there has been a distinct lack of content here at Hardware Canucks over the last three or so weeks. Many asked for an explanation and thatís exactly what this quick post is in...
October 29, 2012
Last weekend AMD held the inaugural Radeon ExtravaLANza event out of their Markham, Ontario headquarters. It brought together gamers of all ages and walks of life into one area for some friendly compe...