As many as 200 IBM employees will be coming to GlobalFoundries Fab 8 over the next few months to help the company as it increases production at its new semiconductor factory.
The employees being dispatched to Malta are experienced people with technical skills who will come from IBM manufacturing facilities in East Fishkill and near Burlington, Vt., said GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard.
The agreement goes into effect immediately, and will continue through March, as new manufacturing tools are installed and chip production increased at Fab 8. The plant, with a 300,000-square-foot cleanroom, began production in 2012 and continues to grow to meet customer demand.
“It’s basically a contractor services agreement,” Bullard said Tuesday. “We’ve done them with IBM before, but this is larger than what we’ve done in the past.”
GlobalFoundries has about 2,200 employees at Fab 8, and continues to hire; in addition, Bullard said there are about 600 contractor employees who are helping with the plant startup and with technical training. The new IBM transfers aren’t included in that number. He said all the contract employees — who are different from suppliers and equipment service vendors — are experienced people who are being used to augment the existing staff.
“These are experienced technical people that will help us with the ramp-up,” he said.
GlobalFoundries, which makes computer chips for other electronics companies, already does some manufacturing by contract for IBM, and both companies are part of an advanced semiconductor research partnership based at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering.
“IBM is such a big company that we have several different relationships with them,” Bullard said.
There has also been speculation — though neither company is commenting — that GlobalFoundries will buy some of IBM’s chip business.
In another connection between the companies, the newly hired senior vice president and general manager of Fab 8, Thomas Caulfield, is a former manager at IBM’s East Fishkill facility.
Bullard said the service agreement allows for up to 200 IBM employees to be working in Malta, but how many will be on hand at any given time is still being determined.