MEMS and Sensors

Video: See Intel’s progress on its two new fabs in Arizona

20 October 2023

Intel has revealed its progress at its two fabs under construction at its Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona.

The chipmaker and budding foundry said the initial portion of the cleanroom is “weather tight” and the “blow down” phase has begun at both semiconductor factories.

Intel began construction of the two fabs in March of 2021 and at the time said it would be home to the company’s Intel Foundry Services (IFS), designed to produce chips for U.S.- and European-based fabless semiconductor firms. Later, the chipmaker revealed a new funding model for the two Arizona fabs that included a significant investment from Brookfield Asset Management.

Intel initially said it would invest $20 billion into the two fabs in Chandler, which included the construction and the installation of advanced process technology equipment to handle Intel 18A and Intel 20A nodes featuring its RibbonFET and PowerVia processes. The total investment in the Ocotillo campus stands at $50 billion over the past four decades.

The current expansion will create more than 3,000 jobs as well as 3,000 construction jobs. 15,000 indirect jobs within the local community are also expected.

A construction worker welds at Intel’s two fab locations in Chandler, Arizona. Source: Intel A construction worker welds at Intel’s two fab locations in Chandler, Arizona. Source: Intel

Why it is important

This is not the only fab that Intel is developing either. In September of 2022, the company broke ground in Ohio on another planned two semiconductor fabs investing another $20 billion. Additionally, the company has unveiled plans to build a gigafab in Magdeburg, Germany. Intel pledged to invest $18.6 billion for a mega-site as part of a spending spree that will cover some $87 billion over the next decade and numerous countries in Europe.

Intel’s goal is to become a powerhouse in semiconductor manufacturing to try to balance the supply chain that has aggregated in Asia for the past few decades, specifically in Taiwan, Korea and China. When COVID-19 hit, it sent the supply chain into a tailspin as lockdowns reduced productivity, yield and utilization, causing a massive semiconductor shortage that lasted for more than two years.

The hope is if the semiconductor supply chain is more evenly distributed when one sector falls — due to another pandemic or geopolitical issue — the other areas will balance manufacturing enough to avoid a cascade effect leading for future shortages. Plus, Intel is looking to gain the dollars of U.S. and European countries that see the aggregation of chip making as a threat to national security among other issues.

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