GlobalFoundries unveils aggressive expansion plan

GlobalFoundries, the AMD chip-making spin-off, announced some aggressive expansion plans at a press conference in Taipei today, backed by significant investment from its Abu Dhabi owners.

The firm said it intends to build an additional 300mm wafer manufacturing facility at its main facility, Fab 1 in Dresden, which will add additional 45/40/28nm capacity and increase overall output to 80,000 wafers per month once fully ramped.

It will also expand the clean room shell at the the site of its as-yet-unbuilt Fab 8 in New York state to allow it the option to increase capacity at 28/22/20nm. This will bring the projected output at the site to 60,000 wafers per month, once that too is fully equipped.

GloFo said its plans would create hundreds of new jobs at the Fab 1 and Fab 8 campuses.

"Our 300mm fabs have been consistently ranked among the most advanced and efficient in the industry," said Chia Song Hwee, the firm's chief operating officer. "With this aggressive capacity build-out plan, we are well positioned to provide new and existing customers with the fastest option to get advanced products to market in the volumes they need to ensure success."

In Dresden, the expansion will focus on adding new capacity to support additional growth opportunities for 45/40/28nm technologies as well as initial 22nm development. The expansion add nearly 110,000 square feet of clean room space to enable the site to scale output up to the targeted 80,000 wafers per month over the next two years.

The start of this expansion project at Fab 1 is subject to the approval of a state aid package by the German authorities and the European Commission.

At the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, New York, the planned expansion will bring the total available clean room space to approximately 300,000 square feet, the firm said.

This work is also dependent on an investment agreement with Empire State Development Corporation and the State of New York. The plant is expected to come online in 2012, with volume production targeted for early 2013.

GlobalFoundries' majority shareholder, the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), also announced plans for the creation of an advanced technology cluster in its home town of Abu Dhabi.

The goal for the site is to be the Middle Eastern hub of a global technology and manufacturing network to support the long-term deployment of capital for ATIC portfolio companies, in capital-intensive advanced technologies.

In a statement Atic's CEO Ibrahim Ajami said the investment in chip building was a, "first step in Abu Dhabi's vision to become a leader in the semiconductor industry. Today we announce the next phase as we take our first steps in establishing a world-class advanced technology cluster over the coming years."

Ajami told a press conference held on the first day of the Computex trade show in Taiwan: "Abu Dhabi has the fifth largest reserve of gas and the sixth largest reserve of oil in the world. But oil is not infinite and one day it will run out, which is why we've created the Abu Dhabi vision for 2030.

"Our plan is to bring the semiconductor industry to Abu Dhabi one day." he said.