The importance that German and European industry attaches to Bosch's new chip production was made clear by the high-ranking (virtual) visitors at the opening: none other than German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Vice-President Margarethe Vestager were present when Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner announced the start of operations at the new chip factory.
The company has invested around €1 billion in its Dresden facility. Of this, € 200 million is funding from the European IPCEI programme.
In the new fab, Bosch plans to produce mainly ASICS and power semiconductors for the automotive industry and the Industrial Internet of Things on 300mm wafers. It is true that Bosch only builds chips with structure widths of 65nm here - the world's most advanced chip production facilities already work with structure sizes of 5nm. Nevertheless, Bosch says the new plant in Dresden can be considered one of the most modern chip factories in the world. This is mainly due to the massive use of automation and AI: This makes the plant data-driven and self-optimising.
In the long term, the Dresden semiconductor plant is to provide 700 jobs on a total area of around 72,000 square metres; the first chips are to leave the factory in the middle of the year - but these are not the urgently needed automotive chips, but much less complex circuits for power tools.
Bosch has been building some of its own semiconductors for 50 years. However, all of these go to the "captive market", primarily to the automotive industry.
In the future, the Bosch plant in Dresden will also build chips for the industrial IoT, a technology area in which Bosch is increasingly involved. Above all, the company sees the connection between AI and the IoT as its sweet spot.
Bosch is also relying heavily on the use of AI in the new production line. There, as