By Stephen Nellis
Intel Corp on Friday inaugurated the construction of two new factories in Arizona as part of its turnaround plan to become a major maker of chips for outside customers.
The $ 20 billion factories – dubbed the Fab 52 and Fab 62 – will bring the total number of Intel factories on its campus in Chandler, Arizona to six. They will house Intel’s most advanced chip-manufacturing technology and will play a central role in the Santa Clara, Calif.-Based company’s efforts to regain its lead in making the smallest and fastest chips in the world. ‘by 2025, after falling behind rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd.
The new Arizona factories will also be the first that Intel has built from scratch with space reserved for outside customers. Intel has a long history of manufacturing its own chips, but its turnaround plan includes working for third parties such as Qualcomm Inc’s Amazon.com cloud unit, as well as deepening its manufacturing relationship with the U.S. military.
“We want to have more resilience in the supply chain,” Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger, who attended a White House meeting earlier in the week on the global chip shortage, told Reuters. . “As the only company on American soil capable of performing the most advanced lithography processes in the world, we will make significant progress.”
Gelsinger said it was too early to say how much of the capacity of the new factories would be reserved for outside customers. He said the factories would produce “thousands” of wafers per week.
Wafers are the silicon disks that chips are made of, and each can contain hundreds or even thousands of chips.
Intel rival TSMC has also bought land to build its first US campus in Phoenix, not far from Intel’s location, where TSMC is planning up to six chip factories https://www.reuters.com/ technology / chipmaker-tsmc-eyeing-expansion- planned-arizona-plant-sources-2021-05-04, Reuters previously reported.
Gelsinger said Intel plans to announce another U.S. campus site before the end of the year that will eventually contain eight chip factories.