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Globalfoundries assures commitment to Dresden

Posted: 02 Apr 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Globalfoundries Dresden site? manufacturing facility? wafer production?

Globalfoundries has promised to continue its commitment for its Dresden manufacturing location and its existing R&D network in the region. In a presentation for the press, Globalfoundries CEO Doug Grose rolled out a roadmap for the company's planned activities.

The foundry joint venture of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Abu Dhabi based Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), Globalfoundries will expand its current manufacturing capacities to 50,000 wafer starts per month in Dresden, Germany, over the next two years, said Grose. The capacity will be equally divided over two production lines for SOI and bulk semiconductors respectively, but since many process steps are identical, there will be a high degree of flexibility, explained Jim Doran, general manager of the Dresden facilities.

While the company, which targets at high-volume leading-edge foundry customers, obviously will compete with most Asian foundry service providers, it will not follow Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.'s example and offer design services for its customers, Grose said. "Not in the strict sense of design services, but we will support our customers in getting their designs into silicon as far as possible", Grose said. For this reason, a Dresden-based AMD chip design team will change over to Globalfoundries.

In addition, the company plans to continue AMD's activities in the regional R&D network, such as the Center for Nanotechnology (CNT), currently located at the campus of insolvent DRAM manufacturer Qimonda AG. The research at CNT is aiming at improving the production yield. Globalfoundries also will maintain an AMD R&D partnership with a Fraunhofer institute in Berlin focusing on advanced chip packaging.

The mask-making joint venture with Qimonda and Toppan, AMTC, is a more difficult case. Since insolvent Qimonda is likely to sell its stake or retire in some form from the JV, the future of the AMTC is uncertain. Grose, however, hinted that Globalfoundries is interested to maintain its activities. "We would like to have the mask making close by", he said cautiously, adding that "Toppan is a great partner."

Along with the takeover of the production lines goes a renaming in Globalfoundries nomenclature: While under AMD the production lines bore the numbers Fab 36 and Fab 38, Globalfoundries has re-baptized them Fab 1. With a headcount of about 2600 persons, Fab 1 will form the "cornerstone of our manufacturing operations", said Doran.

While module 1 in Fab 1 currently produces 45nm SOI devices, module 2 will ramp up production of 32nm bulk semiconductors in late 2009, Doran explained.

Moving forward
Globalfoundries' commitment to Dresden does not mean the company won't launch activities elsewhere. In mid-2009, it plans to break ground for its Fab 2 in Saratoga County in the state of New York. The facilities are designed for 32- and 22nm semiconductors, starting production in 2012.

In terms of production technology, the company is currently developing second generation immersion lithography which will help them to reduce geometries to 22nm. Extreme ultra violet (EUV) lithography, in the industry widely tipped as the technology basis for sub-32nm geometries, is still "many years out", Grose said.

With regard to Intel's claim the company would violate the intellectual property cross-licensing agreement with AMD, Grose said that he feels very strong that as an AMD subsidiary the foundry has the rights to use the IP. "This is really a diversionary tactic from Intel to take the focus off the bigger picture," he said.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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