Power Semiconductors

GlobalFoundries to expand SOI wafer manufacturing

09 June 2021

Globalfoundries (GF) is partnering with GlobalWafers to add 300 mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer manufacturing and expand existing 200 mm SOI wafer production.

GlobalWafers is a silicon wafer manufacturer and GF uses the wafer in its manufacturing facilities to build semiconductors. The $800 million supply deal includes $310 million in capital expansion at GlobalWafers' MEMC facility in O’Fallon, Missouri.

The specialized wafers will then be used in GF’s manufacturing facilities in New York and Vermont. Specifically, the wafers will be used at GF’s Fab 8 in Malta, New York, and 200 mm wafers made at the Missouri site will be used at GF’s Fab 9 in Essex Junction, Vermont.

The wafers will be used to create semiconductors for RF technologies for a range of applications such as 5G smartphones, wireless connectivity, automotive radar and aerospace.

The 300 mm pilot line is on track to be completed by the end of the year and the $210 million capital expenditures expansion will create more than 75 new jobs.

“Semiconductors are critical to our national security and economic competitiveness,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, an instrumental supporter of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. “The supply chain of these computer chips is highly complex and largely dominated by other countries. We need to begin making more chips at home to protect U.S. industries from chip shortages like we have seen in recent months. Today’s announcement is good news for semiconductor manufacturing and will create steady, good-paying, high-tech jobs for Missourians.”

The move to expand manufacturing and wafers comes at a time when the semiconductor industry is in the throes of a ongoing chip shortage that is impacting the supply chain, particularly in the automotive sector — where many OEMs are predicting revenue shortages and production issues — as well as consumer electronics, power and LED lighting.

The semiconductor market is only expected to grow as well with a predicted 5% growth in the next decade as more chips are being included in vehicles, smart devices, manufacturing, infrastructure, industrial and the internet of things (IoT).

The Biden Administration and the U.S. government are looking to put some $50 billion into semiconductor manufacturing and the construction of new fabs in the U.S. to help expand U.S. domestic semiconductor manufacturing to prevent further supply chain disruptions in the future.

Fabs are already scheduled for construction in the U.S. including two from Intel in Arizona and at least one in Arizona from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC).

GF has also been working to expand its operations with a $1.4 billion investment to increase output at its three factories in the U.S., Singapore and Germany. The company also recently purchased about 55 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to its Fab 8 facility in Malta, New York.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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