Intel's $3.5 Billion in Fabs
Creating 2,000 Jobs in Arizona and Colorado
Once again, chip king Intel (www.intel.com) has its powerful expansion mojo running in high gear.
The world's largest chipmaker has announced, almost simultaneously, two major wafer fabrication facilities. One of the new fabs will be located in Arizona, while the other will be in Colorado.
Together, the two facilities will add 2,000 jobs and involve a capital expenditure of $3.5 billion.
The Arizona deal is unfolding in Chandler, where Intel already has a substantial presence, with 8,150 employees.
The new fab in Chandler, though, marks a major step forward in Intel's technological evolution. It will be the first high-volume Intel fab that will manufacture 300-millimeter (12-inch) wafers. The Chandler wafer fabrication facility will involve a capital investment of $2 billion.
"This facility will help us maintain our leadership in the extremely competitive world of semiconductors. Fab 22 will give us more manufacturing capacity in order to help us better address our customers' growing need for high performance microprocessors," explained Mike Splinter, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Technology and Manufacturing Group.
The 300-millimeter wafers that will be manufactured in Chandler represent a substantial advance in chip power. Compared to the standard 200-millimeter (8-inch) wafers that are used in many semiconductor manufacturing plants today, 300-millimeter chips offer 225 percent of the silicon surface area (over twice as much surface area), and about 240 percent of the printed die (individual computer chips) per wafer.
But profit as well as power is part of the equation for the 300-millimeter wafers. The larger wafers will reduce manufacturing costs per wafer by more than 30 percent, Intel officials explained.
Added Splinter, "Intel plans to bring this fab on line in record time to meet our customers' needs. It will initially begin production using Intel's 0.13-micron process technology with copper metallization on 200-millimeter wafers in 2001 and transition into the production of 300- millimeter wafers." (A micron is approximately 1/100th the width of a typical human hair.)
The 1,000 jobs at the Chandler fab will include technicians, engineers and support personnel.
The new fab will be located on Intel's 705-acre (282-ha.) Ocotillo campus in Chandler, near Intel's existing Fab 12. The new facility will have approximately 360,000 sq. ft. (32,400 sq. m.) of floor space, with one-third of that total devoted to clean-room space.
Intel's major deal in Colorado differs significantly, particularly in how fast it will add new capacity. Intel is buying an Rockwell International fab located in Colorado Springs, Colo. By buying an existing facility, Intel will be able to add significant manufacturing capacity in the short term, company officials explained.
"This facility will give us the ability to rapidly add more manufacturing capacity in order to address our customers' growing demand for a wide variety of our products," said Splinter. "Colorado Springs is an excellent environment for a new Intel facility. It has an excellent work force and educational systems, along with a good reputation for working closely with businesses."
If the acquisition process proceeds smoothly and without delays, the Colorado Springs facility should begin manufacturing flash memory by late this year. The Colorado Springs facility, which is currently vacant, consists of two wafer fabs and several support buildings. The first fab, a 268,000-sq.-ft. (24,120-sq.-m.) manufacturing and support facility, was built in the early 1980s and will be converted into a sort and test facility.
The second wafer fab was built in 1996, but the building was never utilized. It is a 676,000-sq.-ft. (60,840-sq.-m.) facility, with one-third of that total dedicated to clean-room space.
Intel plans to install its 0.18-micron manufacturing technology in the Colorado fab, using 200-millimeter (eight-inch) wafers. Intel will begin construction and installation of manufacturing equipment at the site in the near future. Intel's total investment at the Colorado Springs complex will total $1.5 billion, company officials estimate. When fully operational, the fab will result in the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs in Colorado Springs.
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