Saratoga County

GlobalFoundries will expand production

Company won't say how many jobs may be created
Exterior of GlobalFoundries.
Exterior of GlobalFoundries.

GlobalFoundries will be increasing its local computer chip production capacity by 20 percent as part of a worldwide capacity expansion, the company announced late Thursday.

The announcement appears to be good news for the plant in Luther Forest, though the company wasn’t specific about how much money will be invested locally or how many additional local jobs will be created.

GlobalFoundries, which makes chips to order for smartphones, laptops and other computer devices, said it needs to expand to meet customer demand. It is the world’s second-largest chip foundry company, behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Foundries make chips to order for others; GlobalFoundries has about 150 customers, including Samsung, AMD, IBM and QualComm.

“We are seeing strong demand for both our mainstream and advanced technologies,” said GlobalFoundries CEO Sanjay Jha.

There will be additional investments in the United States and Germany, the company said. A new fabrication plant will be built in Chengdu, China. The company didn’t specify how much will be invested either worldwide or locally.

Fab 8 employs about 3,000 people, with two large manufacturing clean rooms.. Fab 8 is the company’s most advanced production facility, but GlobalFoundries also has plants in Dresden, Germany, and in Singapore. There is going to be new company investment in all those locations.

“We are having such great demand for our projects that we’re increasing our 14-nanmometer capacity by 20 percent,” said Steven Grasso, a GlobalFoundries spokesman.

Fab 8 is the only GlobalFoundries plant making 14-nm chips, and is where the company is working to develop an even smaller chip — one with 7-nm circuits. The expansion will include installation of additional manufacturing tools, but no physical expansion, Grasso said.

“In the United States, GF plans to expand 14-nm FinFET capacity by an additional 20 percent at its Fab 8 facility, with the new production capacities to come online in the beginning of 2018,” the company said in its statement.

GlobalFoundries has invested $13 billion at Fab 8 since construction started in 2009, the vast majority of that money for sophisticated manufacturing tools, a single piece of which can cost $100 million. Fab 8 is equipped to process up to 60,000 silicon wafers per month, and an expansion would be on top of that. Each wafer can produce hundreds of computer chips.

“New York will continue to be the center of leading-edge technology development for 7-nm and extreme ultraviolet lithography, with 7-nm production capacity planned for (second quarter) 2018,” the statement said.

Elsewhere, the company said that in Dresden it will expand its capacity to make 22-nm chips, to meet a growing demand for smartphone processors, automotive electronics and battery-powered wireless technologies. The new fab in China will support growth in China and world-wide, and come into production in 2019, the company said.

Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia, who has been informally briefed on the plans, said he expects that the company will be investing at least $2 billion in new equipment locally, and he believes there will be more jobs created.

“I think it’s wonderful news not only for GlobalFoundries on the world-wide market but definitely outstanding news for Saratoga County and for the town of Malta and for the town of Stillwater,” DeLucia said. “I anticipated there will be new jobs. That’s strictly an anticipation based on hearing the news. Any time there’s an investment in GlobalFoundries it usually is good for jobs.”

The company, declined to put a figure on any additional jobs or the size of the investment.

In addition to the 3,000 company employees, Fab 8 has hundreds of employees for contractors like Applied Materials and Tokyo Electronics who install, maintain and repair the manufacturing equipment. Additional tools are likely to mean more work for them.

GlobalFoundries has municipal approval to build a second manufacturing plant at the Fab 8 site, and DeLucia said he expects those plans to go forward at some point.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Categories: Business, News, Schenectady County

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