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Bosch expands semiconductor activities with €3 bn investment

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt


With its investment package, Bosch is planning, for example, a new development centre each in Reutlingen and Dresden for a total of more than €170 million. In addition, the company is investing €250 million in Dresden next year to expand the site by adding 3,000 square metres of cleanroom space. At the same time, the automotive and industrial supplier wants to establish a new area of expertise: System-on-Chips (SOCs). Among other things, the company plans to make radar sensors, as they are needed for 360-degree detection of a vehicle’s surroundings, for example in automated driving, smaller, more intelligent and at the same time more cost-effective. The company said it will concentrate on chip technologies that are particularly important for electromobility, namely components with structural widths between 40 and 200 nanometres.

Another Bosch focus is on new semiconductor technologies. In Reutlingen, Bosch has been manufacturing silicon carbide chips (SiC) for the power electronics of electric and hybrid cars since the end of 2021. With the help of these components, the company has already been able to increase the range of electric cars by up to six percent. Demand for SiC components is high, Bosch’s order books are full, and the market continues to grow strongly – by an average of 30 % a year. Bosch is already researching other technologies to make power electronics more efficient and cost-effective. “We are looking into developing transistors and modules for electromobility based on gallium nitride (GaN), such as those already used in laptop and smartphone chargers,” said Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch board of management. For use in vehicles, these chips must become more robust and withstand significantly higher voltages than before, up to 1200 volts.

Bosch plans to further expand semiconductor production in Reutlingen with an investment of €400 million. Among other things, a new part of the building with an additional clean room area of about 3,600 square metres is being built at the site. In total, the cleanroom area in Reutlingen is to grow from around 35,000 square metres at present to more than 44,000 square metres by the end of 2025.

In Reutlingen, Bosch has been operating semiconductor factories based on 150- and 200-millimetre technology for 50 years. In Dresden, the company has been manufacturing semiconductor chips on wafers with a diameter of 300 millimetres since 2021. The chips manufactured by Bosch in Reutlingen and Dresden include application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS sensors) and power semiconductors. Bosch is building a test centre for semiconductors from scratch in Penang, Malaysia. From 2023, the company aims to test finished semiconductor chips and sensors there.

www.bosch.com

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