x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

The GlobalFoundries fabrication plant in Dresden, Germany is looking to increase its output to up to 1 million wafers a year by 2020.

The Dresden fabrication plant, above, produces 28nm, 32nm, 40nm and 45nm semi-conductor chips. Jeff Topping / The National
The Dresden fabrication plant, above, produces 28nm, 32nm, 40nm and 45nm semi-conductor chips. Jeff Topping / The National

The GlobalFoundries fabrication plant in Dresden, Germany is looking to increase its output to up to 1 million wafers a year by 2020.

That would nearly double its current output capacity in a bid to meet the expected surge in demand for semi-conductor chips.

“The plan is to focus on [28 nanometre chips],” said Jens Drews, the director of communications and government relations at GlobalFoundries Dresden. “New York will start with 28nm then quickly migrate down to 20nm and 14nm. The eventual goal is to get Fab 1 anywhere from 900,000 to 1 million wafers a year towards the end of the decade.”

GlobalFoundries is owned by Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic). Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, owns Atic.

GlobalFoundries will not be expanding Fab 1 to accommodate the rise in output; instead it will ramp up its current systems and introduce more energy-efficient techniques to speed up the 1,000 or so steps involved in producing a wafer, a process that takes up to six weeks to complete.

“That can happen within the existing infrastructure,” said Mr Drews.

The Dresden fab produces 28nm, 32nm, 40nm and 45nm semi-conductor chips.

The increased output is expected to have a wider-ranging affect on industries, especially in Europe, said Mr Drews.

“Micro-electronics and having chips is the key to intelligent automation of factories, so there will be less an issue of high labour costs with fewer people to move materials around,” said Mr Drews. “That enables manufacturing and industries to have a chance to stay in the region despite high labour costs. Europe can be more competitive in the future than it is now.”

GlobalFoundries will also be expanding one of its plants in Singapore to increase output from about 50,000 wafers a month to 1 million a year.

It also recently won the right to extend its facilities in New York and will begin working on a Dh10 billion research facility.

GlobalFoundries does not disclose its full list of clients, but it is widely believed among analysts that Apple is one of the companies whose products house the company’s chips.

thamid@thenational.ae