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Globalfoundries dips $6B in new NY fab

Posted: 20 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Globalfoundries NY fab? foundry? semiconductor?

It's rare in the semiconductor industry to witness the unfolding of a project on a grand scale in this downturn. But based on what has been proposed so far, the Globalfoundries project backed by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and its partner is precisely that.

"We want to be the first truly global semiconductor foundry," said Globalfoundries CEO Global Doug Grose at a recent event in New York, where a ground-breaking ceremony will be held in July.

Globalfoundries has committed up to $6 billion to develop a new fab to produce chips for AMD and new customers. "This money is for a five- to seven-year stretch. Our investors [are] in this for the long haul," said Grose.

According to Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist at market researcher In-Stat, "Everything for the future depends on Globalfoundries' ability to land new customers. Unfortunately, I can't predict that."

Jim Doran, senior VP and general manager of AMD's Dresden, Germany, operation, said Globalfoundries will use a Sunnyvale, Calif., facility for technology development and producing process design kits. The U.S. site also will be used for designing intellectual property and chip testing and validation.

Globalfoundries also is engaged with neighbors here like the IBM Alliance on submicron research and development.

Globalfoundries' 300mm Fab 1 in Dresden includes a Module 1 used for 45nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) chips; Module 2 is used for 32nm and beyond bulk CMOS process technology. Both modules are expected to operate at 25,000 monthly wafer starts at full capacity. Module 2 production will ramp up in late 2009.

The $4.5 billion Fab 2, a 300mm manufacturing facility in Saratoga County, N.Y., is expected to come online in 2012 with 35,000 wafer starts per month at full capacity. Fab 2 is expected to create more than 1,400 jobs along with about 5,000 spin-off jobs.

Fab 2 will occupy 223 acres of the 1,350-acre Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County. New York State has provided corporate tax breaks along with dual, independent power transmission lines with four substations, a new water line and a 5 million gallon water storage facility.

Globalfoundries will initially rely on AMD as its principle customer. "Eventually we will have a high-volume, 45nm SOI process technology and develop 32nm bulk SOI here", said R&D director John Pellerin.

Globalfoundries will also collaborate on early-stage research with the Albany campus of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. "Our collaboration with IBM, Albany, and others has yielded the first, full-field test chip fabbed in [extreme ultraviolet lithography], a process technology likely needed for chips fabbed in 15nm process nodes and beyond," Pellerin said.

Globalfoundries is hedging its bets by creating what it considers a new and differentiated manufacturing model. "The manufacturing operations are deliberately tuned to accurately deliver what customers need, when they need it," claimed Tom Sonderman, VP of manufacturing systems. Called Automated Precision Manufacturing (APM), the manufacturing process developed for AMD's Austin, Texas, facility is being applied to all fabs AMD works with.

"Five integrated algorithmic analysis systems are being applied to the process, making this much more than just APC," Sonderman said.

The result of all this, CEO Grose claims, is that Globalfoundries "will be the number 2 foundry after TSMC," a reference to global foundry leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Globalfoundries made two key appointments this week: Subramani Kengeri was lured away from TSMC to serve as VP of design solutions. Kengeri had served as TSMC's senior director of design and technology and head of its North America Design Center. Kengeri will report to Mojy Chian, who recently joined the company as senior VP of design enablement from Altera Corp.

The recent hiring of former Freescale Semiconductor executive Gregg Bartlett as Globalfoundries' senior VP of technology and R&D completes its top management. Bartlett will oversee Globalfoundries' collaborative R&D activities with the IBM Alliance.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

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