Sony is to invest $900 million to boost CMOS imaging sensor production.
The investment will boost sensor production at three fabs from 60k wpm to 80k wpm by the end of June 2016.
The boost will require a shift of 220 fab staff from other semiconductor operations.
Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has fixed on a strategy of focussing on the company’s areas of strength of which imaging sensors is one of the strongest.
Sony’s long term plan is to have camera modules and sensors contributing over 60% of all Sony’s electronic device revenues by the end of the FY March 2017-8.
The automotive market is seen as a key target area.
Sony has been a leader in image sensors since the mid-80s when it was the first company to produce a camcorder using the bipolar CCD imaging technology. The camcorder was a huge success for Sony.
The CCD had been a long time in development at Sony after being invented at Bell Labs in 1969.
Sony’s development project started in 1973, driven by Sony founder Akio Morita’s brother-in-law, Kazuo Iwama.
Iwama died in 1982 before the development was completed but, when the CCD was perfected, Sony had one implanted on his tombstone.