As part of its long-term growth strategy, Cree Inc will invest up to $1 billion in the expansion of its silicon carbide (SiC) capacity with the development of a state-of-the-art, automated, 200 mm SiC fabrication facility and a materials mega-factory at its U.S. campus headquarters in Durham, North Carolina. It marks the company’s largest investment to date in fueling its Wolfspeed SiC and gallium nitride (GaN) on SiC business.
Upon completion in 2024, the facilities will substantially increase the company’s SiC materials capability and wafer fabrication capacity, allowing wide-bandgap semiconductor solutions that enable the dramatic technology shifts underway within the automotive, communications infrastructure and industrial markets.
According to Cree CEO Gregg Lowe, “This investment in equipment, infrastructure and our workforce is capable of increasing our silicon carbide wafer fabrication capacity up to 30-fold and our materials production by up to 30-fold compared to Q1 of fiscal year 2017, which is when we began the first phase of capacity expansion. We believe this will allow us to meet the expected growth in Wolfspeed SiC material and device demand over the next five years and beyond.”
The plan delivers additional capacity for its industry-leading Wolfspeed SiC business, with the build out of an existing structure as a 253,000 ft2, 200 mm power and RF wafer fabrication facility as an initial step to serve the projected market demand. The new North Fab is designed to be fully automotive qualified and will provide nearly 18 times more surface area for manufacturing than exists today, initially opening with the production of 150 mm wafers. The company will convert its existing Durham fabrication and materials facility into a materials mega-factory.
The expanded campus also creates high-tech job opportunities and will serve as an advanced manufacturing workforce development initiative. Cree plans to partner with state and local community and four-year colleges to develop training programs to prepare its workforce for the long-term, high-quality employment and growth opportunities the new facilities will present.