The new factory will have an area of about 23,000 square meters of clean room space and will process around 450,000 300mm wafers per year (approximately 37,500 wafers per month) using a variety of technologies, such as those used to build RF, power analog and non-volatile memory solutions. The new factory will employ more than 1,000 engineers and technicians, and when the entire GlobalFoundries campus in Singapore is completed it will be able to process more than 1.5 million 300mm wafers per year.
GlobalFoundries faces shortage with its new factory
As one of the world’s largest specialty semiconductor manufacturers, GlobalFoundries is in the process of expanding all of its production capabilities to meet the demand for its services. This year, the company also plans to invest in new fabrication tools to increase production of its Fab 1 located in Dresden, Germany, and Fab 8 in Malta, New York.
The new factory will cost about $ 4 billion, which will be co-invested by GlobalFoundries, the Singapore Economic Development Board and some of their most committed clients. GlobalFoundries says the new semiconductor production facility will be the most advanced in all of Singapore, which is not particularly surprising as no foundry has built a new state-of-the-art factory in the country for more than a decade, and more specifically since GloFo bought Chartered Semiconductor in late 2009.
GlobalFoundries is preparing for an initial public offering in late 2021. Before going public, the company must make its plans clear to potential investors and begin building the new factory as well as investing in additional tools for the existing facilities, already that this will be the way to show the direction of the administration of the company. In addition, the increased production is a clear message to existing customers that the company will do everything possible to meet demand in the future.
Will it be too late to alleviate the chip shortage?
We are all aware by now of the bad times that the hardware industry in general and semi-drivers in particular is going through. Demand is so high that each and every one of the semi-conductor manufacturers has been overwhelmed and cannot offer as many chips as requested, something that has been aggravated by the shortage of some raw materials and the consequent rise in their price.
Almost all semiconductor manufacturers are trying to alleviate this shortage situation in one way or another, in almost all cases trying to increase production capacity, but opening new factories and starting them up is not something trivial since it takes a long time , work and above all money. In this case, the GlobalFoundries announcement is quite encouraging, first because the 4 billion investment is less than half of what TSMC says it costs to open a new wafer factory, and second because the expected opening time (year and a half ) is quite a bit shorter than what the industry giants say.
Therefore, this GloFo announcement is not only not late, but it would be ahead of giants such as TSMC, Intel or Samsung in trying to alleviate the shortage. However, we are talking about medium-term options, and it will be necessary to see if the deadlines are met in the end or if they encounter difficulties and in the end everything is delayed or canceled. Hopefully not.