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AMD seeks to add more fabs in Germany

Posted: 10 Nov 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:expansion? production? foundry?

Backed by a strong investor, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is expected to expand its production lines and next foundry service providers such as Fab 36 and Fab 38 in Dresden, Germany. During a congress in Munich, Udo Nothelfer, VP, manufacturing and technology, for AMD's Fab 36, gave details on the company's strategy and road map.

"AMD's expansion plans are based on the presumption that the trend in the IC industry toward fab-lite and fabless business models will create added demand for foundry services," said Nothelfer. He added that the nest foundry company will develop microprocessors for AMD, as well as graphics chips for AMD's ATI subsidiary. To manufacture the graphics chips, the company will be adding 32nm bulk production technology to its existing 45nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and future 32nm SOI processes.

"Fab36 in Dresden is now ramping up 45nm volume production. Commercial 45nm production will begin during the current quarter," said Nothelfer. Fab 38, near Fab 36, is presently being expanded and production ramp-up is scheduled for 2009. Fab 38 is designed to produce devices with geometries as small as 22nm. Each fab will have a capacity of 25,000 waferstarts per month, adding up to a whopping capacity of 50,000 waferstarts per month.

The Dresden fabs will be brought into a new company wherein the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) of Abu Dhabi will have the majority stake. "The new company, previously named, 'The Foundry Company' will be launched in January 2009," said Nothelfer. "This partnership has a long-term perspective," he added.

He noted that the competitiveness of the Foundry Company will be based on technology excellence. Nothelfer said in terms of technology AMD always has an edge over the popular Taiwan foundries and potential future competitors. He added that AMD introduced all technology generations earlier or at the same time as the known large foundries. The 45nm for instance, the company's next goal, will go into volume production very soon at AMD, while among the competitors, only Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd even has announced a road map for this technology node.

While the company is just one step away of entering the 45nm volume production, it already produces first samples in 32nm geometries. When asked about the lithography technology that will be used for commercial production, Nothelfer said there is currently no option to immersion lithography. "It is the only solution available. With some additional tricks, it can be used for 32nm as well as for 45nm," he added.

He noted that the Foundry Company will be competitive against Far Eastern foundries despite higher costs. "Given the high degree of automation in an IC fab, labor costs are in the single-digit percentage range. Good engineering and a reliable team far outweigh the influence of labor costs," he stressed.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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