“The new fab is a milestone for Infineon, and its opening is very good news for our customers,” said Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon, opening of the company’s latest power semiconductor plant in villach, Austria, with an app rather than a pair of scissors to cut a ribbon.
“The timing to create new capacity in Europe could not be better, given the growing global demand for power semiconductors. The last few months have clearly shown how essential microelectronics are in virtually every area of life. Given the accelerated pace of digitalization and electrification, we expect demand for power semiconductors to continue to grow in the coming years. The additional capacities will help us serve our customers worldwide even better, including long term,” he said.
After three years of preparation and construction, the factory was commissioned at the beginning of August, three months ahead of schedule. The first wafers will leave the Villach plant this week. In the first stage of expansion, the chips will primarily be used to meet demand from the automotive industry, data centres and renewable energy generation of solar and wind power. The plant will give Infineon additional sales potential of around two billion euros per year.
The new chip factory has about 60,000 m² of gross floor space and production will be gradually ramped up over the next four to five years. More than two-thirds of the 400 additional highly qualified specialist jobs needed to operate the fully-automated fab have already been hired.
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Villach is the Group’s centre of expertise for power semiconductors and was the site for the initial production of power semiconductors on the 40µm thick 300mm wafers was developed about 10 years ago. This was then expanded to fully automated volume production at the Dresden fab in Germany in recent years.
One of the key parts of the development was to mirror the technology used at the 300mm fab in Dresden. This will allow production to the moved between the two sites and spee dup nw product introductions, says Jochen Hanebeck, a member of the Management Board and Chief Operations Officer of Infineon.
“Infineon now has two large power semiconductor manufacturing sites for 300-millimeter thin wafers, one in Dresden and one in Villach. Both sites are based on the same standardized production and digitization concepts,” he said. “This allows us to control the manufacturing operations at the two sites as if they were one factory. We increase productivity and create additional flexibility for our customers. This is because we can quickly move production volumes for different products between the sites and thus respond even faster to their needs. With the virtual megafactory, Infineon is setting a new benchmark in 300-millimeter manufacturing. This makes further increases in resource and energy efficiency possible, as well as optimization of the environmental footprint.”
During the construction of the factory, the company paid particular attention to ways that could further improve its energy usage. 80 percent of the site’s heating requirements will be covered by intelligently recycling the waste heat of the cooling systems and the extensive use of exhaust air purification systems will cut direct emissions to virtually zero.
Another areas is the production and recycling of green hydrogen. The hydrogen required as a process gas in production will be produced directly on site in Villach from renewable energy sources starting at the beginning of 2022. This green hydrogen will be recycled after use in chip production and used to fuel public transportation buses. This project of dual use of green hydrogen is unique in Europe.
The 300mm lines are focussed on silicon IGBTs and MOFSET production, although silicon carbide and gallium nitride will also be produced at the fab.
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