Intel confirms $20bn fab and foundry in Ohio

Intel confirms $20bn fab and foundry in Ohio

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

After a week of speculation, Intel has announced plans for two semiconductor fabs in a new location for the company, Ohio.

The initial investment will be more than $20bn for the fabs, which will break ground later this year and enter production in 2025 with its own chips and foundry designs for customers. This follows the ground breaking of two new fabs at an existing site in Arizona in September last year with a similar investment.

To support the development of the Ohio site, Intel pledged an additional $100 million toward partnerships with educational institutions to build a pipeline of talent and bolster research programs in the region.

The move to Ohio will be the biggest industrial investment in the state and highlights the political nature of these big projects. Ohio will be home to Intel’s first new manufacturing site location in 40 years, but further investment of up to $100bn is dependent on further support from the US CHIPS Act currently progressing through Congress that aims to support the semiconductor industry

The announcement is timed alongside Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger joining US president Joe Biden at the White House later today, and the site will provide secure chip manufacturing for the US government.

“Today’s announcement is monumental news for the state of Ohio,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.  “Intel’s new facilities will be transformative for our state, creating thousands of good-paying jobs in Ohio manufacturing strategically vital semiconductors, often called ‘chips.’  Advanced manufacturing, research and development, and talent are part of Ohio’s DNA, and we are proud that chips – which power the future – will be made in Ohio, by Ohioans.” 

“Today’s investment marks another significant way Intel is leading the effort to restore U.S. semiconductor manufacturing leadership,” said Gelsinger. “Intel’s actions will help build a more resilient supply chain and ensure reliable access to advanced semiconductors for years to come. Intel is bringing leading capability and capacity back to the United States to strengthen the global semiconductor industry. These factories will create a new epicentre for advanced chipmaking in the U.S. that will bolster Intel’s domestic lab-to-fab pipeline and strengthen Ohio’s leadership in research and high tech.”

As the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history, the initial phase of the project is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs over the course of the build, and to support tens of thousands of additional local long-term jobs across a broad ecosystem of suppliers and partners.

Spanning nearly 1,000 acres in Licking County, just outside of Columbus, the site can accommodate a total of eight fabs. At full buildout, the total investment in the site could grow to as much as $100 billion over the next decade, making it one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing sites in the world.

Production is expected to come online in 2025, when the fab will deliver chips using the industry’s most advanced transistor technologies. Intel earlier this week ordered the first 0.55NA EUV lithography system from ASML that will be delivered in 2025 for leading edge process technology at 3nm and below.

The investment is expected to attract dozens of ecosystem partners and suppliers, with  Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean Technology indicating plans to establish a physical presence in the region to support the buildout of the site, with more companies expected in the future.

“The impact of this mega-site investment will be profound,” said Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations. “A semiconductor factory is not like other factories. Building this semiconductor mega-site is akin to building a small city, which brings forth a vibrant community of supporting services and suppliers. Ohio is an ideal location for Intel’s U.S. expansion because of its access to top talent, robust existing infrastructure, and long history as a manufacturing powerhouse. The scope and pace of Intel’s expansion in Ohio, however, will depend heavily on funding from the CHIPS Act.”

Next: Intel Foundry Services and 1.8nm tech

In addition to providing capacity for Intel’s chips, the Ohio fabs will support the Intel Foundry Services (IFS) service for customer designs.

“With IFS, Intel is opening its factory doors wide to serve the needs of foundry customers around the globe – many of whom are looking for more geographical balance in the semiconductor supply chain,” said Dr. Randhir Thakur, senior vice president and president of Intel Foundry Services. “The Ohio factories are designed for the ‘Angstrom era,’ with support for Intel’s most advanced process technologies, including Intel 18A, [or roughly 1.8nm]. These technologies are critical for enabling next-generation foundry customer products across a range of applications, from high-performance mobile to artificial intelligence.”

The Ohio site will also provide leading-edge process technology to support the US government’s unique security and infrastructure needs.

The move shows the increasing amount of capacity that is coming online, alongside a 3nm fab for Intel run by TSMC in Taiwan, and highlights the need for a faster response from Europe, where Intel has also been looking at sites in Galway and Bavaria for fabs.

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