Many parties need to buy-in to Malcolm Penn's dream of European manufacturing on 450-mm diameter wafers if it is going to happen. And Europe, facing eurozone implosion, needs radical thinking and risk-taking.
I don't think common manufacturing platforms across all parties are necessary for a jointly owned and operated 450-mm wafer fab. A 450-mm More-than-Moore fab in particular would have to support a large number of processes but there might be advantages in finding common ground and common processes. The bigger obstacle is making joint ownership work. This has usually prooved problematic in the long term. There is also a lack of the risk-tasking spirit that existed at the birth of the European experiment and which drove such things as GSM cellular mobile phone technology and the Megaproject and JESSI.
I am sure the EU/EC is aware of a need to reinvigorate European manufacturing and value creation in areas like nanotechnology and the need to do something to prevent manufacturing continuing to drain east. The European companies tend to just want R&D support for their nearer term technologies on 300-mm wafers. I don't see Carlo Bozotti of STMicroelectronics, Rick Clemmer of NXP Semiconductors or the incoming Reinhard Ploss at Infineon Technologies changing that position any time soon.
And with regard to Penn's idea of a 450-mm fab to given European companies an advantage behind the leading-edge there are yet more hurdles to be overcome.
More-than-Moore technologies for the most part do not require 450-mm diameter wafers and in some cases are positively uneconomic on such large wafers. It is not practical that an entire chip product's lifetime requirement can be produced on just a few wafers. Indeed there is discussion in the MEMS community that 300-mm wafers are still way too large for any designs and that 200-mm wafers are only just becoming the sweet spot for consumer MEMS with applications that need high volumes.
We should remember that Moore's law when originally coined was an economic argument and not a technical one. The only way I can see 450-mm wafers being used for the smaller volumes and wafer area required by many behind-the-leading-edge technologies would be if there was a business model change so that multiproject wafer runs could become more mainstream, rather than a prototyping vehicle.
The best hope I see is that the bureaucrats in Brussels can call in some favors with the likes of Intel and Globalfoundries, who want to be good European citizens, to have a leading-edge volume 450-mm wafer fab be located in Dublin or Dresden.
STMicroelectronics, Infineon and others may disagree.
They might like to see the European Union support them with upgrades of their older fabs for More-than-Moore production.
So who should we support: U.S. companies Intel and GlobalFoundries that manufacture and create jobs in Europe..or European companies who manufacture overseas?
There's a lot of discussion of SOI in the report. In case anyone's wondering, ramping of SOI wafers (for FD-SOI, FinFETs, PD-SOI etc) at 450mm is on schedule for the industry ramp. See http://www.advancedsubstratenews.com/2011/09/ultra-thin-wafers-for-450mm-fd-soi-on-schedule/.
I think the most interesting point in the article is that European managers and companies are not able to compete against Asian and US American companies in advanced electronic production and products, and that the result can allready be seen in the crisis of some European countries and the Euro.
When you look at TV's, mobile phones and memory products as DRAM and NAND Flash, all production more or less disappeared from Europe (Nokia is still there at the moment, that's true for the moment). TV's are gone, Siemens gave up mobile development and production, Qimonda is gone, ST gave up all NAND activities, Infineon sold its wireless to intel, ...
The question is what will be the basis for the European prosperity in the future when the European companies, countries and the EU commision does not see any value in the advanced electronic industry and does not show any activities to keep these sectors in Europe, as it was the case in the mentioned examples.
This seems to be very different in countries like Abu Dhabi in form of ATIC which spend billions of dollars to form Global Foundries.
For all this reasons I think there will be never a 450-mm Fab or even Foundry in Europe, because there are simply no capable managers nor European politicians.
Unless you mean KLA is supplying 450-mm capable tools to Intel IN LEIXLIP I don't see how your statement has a lot of relevance to this article.
I was trying to elaborate on whether there is an appetite for the cost of 450-mm wafer processing in Europe -- ever, and particularly by European-based companies.
KLA supplying 450-mm tools to Intel in Oregon and Arizona would make it more likely that Intel MIGHT produce on 450-mm wafers in Europe, some day.
Intel has been getting closer to the European Commission over the last five years. Spreading the 450-mm love around might be part of the cost of being a good European citizen.
Peter - I give you some real insight
Once upon a time there was LRCX and NVLS.
Intel wants 450mm - NVLS said no.
SO Intel pushed some buttons -
and in return LRCX will get some etch business from Intel.
That's how it works in the real world.
KLA already supplying 450 mm tools to Intel .
You just way behind the curve