Infineon is planning to spend about $400 million to upgrade its manufacturing site in Villach, Austria with an emphasis on materials and processes and on energy-efficient production and manufacturing automation.
Villach has been a center of excellence in power semiconductors for Infineon and such materials as gallium nitride and silicon carbide and MEMS and sensor technologies will be added to the continuing development of 300-millimeter diameter thin wafer technology.
Under the plan Infineon plans to expand Villach's role as a pilot manufacturing facility that can help develop manufacturing processes for transfer to other wafer fabs, such as Infineon's 300mm wafer fab at Dresden and 200mm wafer fab in Kulim, Malaysia.
Villach has been used for the manufacture of power semiconductors and was the site where after a year of set up and development the company produced its first power semiconductor chips on 300-mm diameter thinned wafers, in October 2011. This process has now been transferred to Dresden and high volume manufacture and is the model the company will pursue under the latest project called "Pilot Space Industry 4.0"
The €290 million spending will take place over the period 2014 to 2017 and create approximately 200 jobs, primarily in R&D, the company said.
Infineon will construct a new building to house research, production and measurement technology workstations. Logistics, miscellaneous infrastructures and the plant equipment will also be expanded to meet future demand.
The goal is to increase productivity and automation along with flexibility in manufacturing. These are the essential goals of Industry 4.0, a key part of the German government's industrial strategy, which promotes the computerization and automation of traditional industries. The interaction of man and machine will attain a "new dimension" in the pilot facility at Villach, Infineon said.
"The continuing development of Villach is a part of our group-wide manufacturing strategy. At the site, important developments will be advanced and production-ready innovative technologies will be transferred by Infineon to other sites," said Peter Schiefer, president of operations at Infineon and responsible for worldwide production sites. "At the same time our strategy will include expansion of our volume manufacturing on 300mm thin wafers in Dresden and on 200mm wafers in Kulim, Malaysia."
Sabine Herlitschka, CEO of Infineon Technologies Austria AG, added: "With the expansion concept Villach is reinforcing its important role as a factory of innovation and a competence center for power electronics within the corporate group. We're making an important contribution to the success of the company by coupling the innovation factory in Villach with volume production in Dresden using the example of 300 millimeter thin wafer production for power semiconductors."
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