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GlobalWafers to build 300mm silicon wafer megafactory in Texas

Business news |
By Andre Rousselot

Taiwanese wafer supplier GlobalWafers is to build a major new plant in the US to tackle the shortage of 300mm silicon wafers.

The 3.2m sq ft plant in Sherman, Texas, will be the largest in the US and one of the largest in the world when completed. This is also the first wafer plant to be built in the US in 20 years, highlighting the importance of securing local supply chain for semiconductors as most wafers are produced in Taiwan, China and Japan.

GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung, Texas Instruments and TSMC are all building new chip fabs to meet demand but will need a secure supply of wafers.

The announcement of the wafer plant is also intended to push the US Congress into approving funding support for some of these fabs as part of the stalled US CHIPS Act. Intel has warned that failure to provide support will kill the proposed $20bn investment in fabs in Ohio.

Construction of the plant is expected to commence later this year with production  anticipated in 2025. The capacity from the site is expected to reach 1.2m 300mm wafers per month after multiple stages of equipment installation, depending on market demand.

GlobalWafers had been looking to acquire wafer maker Siltronic in Germany to boost its capacity, but failed to get regulatory approval.

“With the global chips shortage and ongoing geopolitical concerns, GlobalWafers is taking this opportunity to address the United States semiconductor supply chain resiliency issue by building an advanced node, state-of-the-art, 300mm silicon wafer factory,” said Doris Hsu, chair and CEO of GlobalWafers. “Instead of importing wafers from Asia, GlobalWafers USA (GWA) will produce and supply wafers locally thereby reducing significant carbon footprint benefitting both customers and GWA in the current ESG tide worldwide.”

GlobalWafers has 17 manufacturing and operation sites in 9 countries and already has a wholly-owned subsidiary, GlobiTech, in Sherman (above). The plant manufactures silicon carbide and silicon epitaxial wafers focused on power and electric vehicle (EV) market segments. It also has a 200mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer plant in St. Peters, Missouri, and is in the process of expanding this to 300mm SOI wafers for radio frequency (RF) applications.

“Today’s announcement from GlobalWafers is critical to rebuilding the domestic semiconductor supply chain, strengthening our economic and national security, and creating U.S. manufacturing jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. 

“We are at a make-or-break moment to expand domestic semiconductor production,” she said. “Semiconductor firms need to make investment decisions by the fall to meet the enormous increased demand for chips. GlobalWafers committed to the US because they believe Congress will get the Bipartisan Innovation Act over the finish line in the coming weeks. Moving quickly to pass this bill will demonstrate America’s commitment to robust domestic semiconductor capacity and provide more companies throughout the supply chain the confidence they need to move forward with investments here.”

“This announcement is another critical step in addressing the US and global chips supply issue”, said Mark England, Sherman-based president of GlobalWafers. “Moreover, in order to level the global incentive playing field, the impending passage of the US CHIPS Act will be instrumental in ensuring ongoing semiconductor investments of this kind. With the proper level of federal incentives, I can envision the City of Sherman developing into the complete semiconductor ecosystem to fully support the growing US semiconductor industry.”

GlobalWafers

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