Bosch investing $463 million in fab expansions

03 November 2021
A Bosch fab worker examines semiconductors in a fab. The company will expand three of its facilities to help meet demand from the ongoing chip shortage. Source: Bosch

In 2022, Bosch plans to invest more than $463 million in wafer fab expansion in Dresden and Reutlingen and build a new semiconductor testing facility in Penang, Malaysia.

The move is designed to help ease the burden of the ongoing chip shortage that is impacting the overall semiconductor supply chain. The chip shortage began toward the end of 2020 following COVID-19 lockdowns that caused semiconductor manufacturers to adjust capacity as companies were unsure of future demand.

When companies saw demand returning, chip fabs had moved on to other semiconductors causing a massive gap in what was needed in certain segments such as automotive, which is struggling to find enough supply.

To boost this supply, Bosch this summer opened up a new chip fab in Dresden, Germany, that is dedicated to automated and connected driving.

“Demand for chips is continuing to grow at breakneck speed,” said Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of Robert Bosch GmbH. “In light of current developments, we are systematically expanding our semiconductor production so we can provide our customers with the best possible support.”

Dresden and Reutlingen expansion

Most of the investment will be allocated to Bosch’s new 300 mm wafer fab in Dresden. Bosch said the Dresden ramp in production will happen earlier than planned.

In Reutlingen, 4,000 square meters will be added to the current 35,000 square meters of clean-room space. The first stage will add 1,000 square meters of production area for 200 mm wafers, bringing the total to 11,500 square meters. The second stage will create a further 3,000 square meters of clean-room space by the end of 2023.

The Reutlingen fab will continue to manufacture microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors and silicon carbide power chips.

Penang testing

The new semiconductor test center in Penang will be highly automated and connected to test semiconductors and sensors starting in 2023. Bosch has more than 100,000 square meters of land in Penang and the center will be developed in stages.

The first stage will cover about 14,000 square meters, including clean rooms, office space, research and development, and training facilities. The test facility opens the possibility of locating new technologies in Bosch’s wafer fabs in the future such as silicon carbide semiconductors in Reutlingen.

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