GlobalWafers breaks ground on 300mm wafer megafactory  

GlobalWafers breaks ground on 300mm wafer megafactory  

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

GlobalWafers has broken ground on a major plant in Texas to make 300mm wafers, a key part of the silicon supply chain.

The 3.2m sq ft megafactory in Sherman, Texas, is the first silicon wafer factory built in the United States in over 20 years and will address the critical shortage in US domestic supply of silicon. This wafer supply has fallen to less than 1% of demand, with the vast majority coming from Taiwan.

GlobalWafers looked to  acquire Siltronic in Germany to boost its wafer production capacity, but that deal was opposed by regulators. As a result the company looked to the US.

The Texas plant benefits from funding under the US CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 funding and state/local incentives, although the company says there was strong support from US local customers. 

Texas Instruments is building a fab in Sherman, with Samsung building nearby in Austin, while TSMC is installing the first equipment at its new fab in Arizona with a ceremony next week. The TSMC plant was built with 5nm process technology in mind, but the company is reported to be looking at installed equipment for its 3nm process.

The supply of 300mm silicon wafers is key for all these fabs.

“Lack of domestic silicon wafer supply for the US semiconductor industry has become alarming and highlighted with recent pandemic and geopolitical issues. Customers have been welcoming of this action by the company as evidenced by long-term supply contracts, which address the key target markets of automotive, mobile, PC, consumer and industrial,” it said.

The plant will enter mass production will occur within two years and there is ‘ample space’ on the 58 hectare site for multi-phased future expansions, it says.

Above, from left to right: David Plyler, Sherman Mayor/ Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s Representative to the United States/ Sandra Oudkirk, Director of American Institute in Taiwan/ Mark England, GlobalWafers President/ Eddie Bernice Johnson, US Congresswoman/ Doris Hsu, GlobalWafers Chairman & CEO/ Kent Sharp, Sherman Economic Development Corporation President/ Adriana Cruz, Executive Director of Texas Economic Development & Tourism/ Dr. Ronnie Chatterji, White House in Charge of CHIPS Act implementation/ JD Grom, Department of Commerce in Charge of CHIPS Act implementation.

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