Evidence is starting to mount that foundry chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. could be about to follow Globalfoundries Inc. in building a wafer fab in up-state New York.
If negotiations play out it could be one of the first commercial-scale wafer fabs set down ready to manufacture on 450-mm diameter wafers whenever that transition should come. And it could be set down next door to Globalfoundries' Fab 8 in the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, one of the sites under consideration.
Reports have been circulating through November that a major semiconductor company has retained consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. to find a location for a 3.2 million square foot production facility.
Operating under the codename Project Azalea Deloitte has reportedly considered sites multiple sites in upstate New York as well as possibilities in California and Texas. The facility is expected to create about 1,000 jobs adding to the speculation that this is a multibillion dollar, leading-edge wafer fab, which restricts the list of possible companies. The location is expected to be selected before the end of 2012 and land negotiations concluded by the end of February 2013.
This has been put together with reports that U.S. congressman Bill Owens, representative for New York, visited TSMC in December 2011, which at the time prompted speculation that TSMC was considering building a wafer fab in the New York area.
Globalfoundries is already on the ground there; Intel already has multiple centers away from New York; Samsung has its U.S. manufacturing focus in Austin Texas, and so circumstantial evidence is starting to point to TSMC as the likely owner of Project Azalea.
And even though TSMC has always been a strong advocate of clustering its fabs together at campus sites in Taiwan, such a move would make sense because New York state has become a center of excellence for nanoelectronics, extreme ultraviolet lithography and is the global center for pioneering the technology around 450-mm diameter wafers. In additon, having a leading-edge manufacturing site in the United States would not hurt TSMC's efforts to take the manufacturing of processors for Apple away from rival Samsung.
As well as being the manufacturing location for IBM and Globalfoundries, New York hosts the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) at the University of Albany. Perhaps more significantly the Global 450 Consortium (G450C) was established in 2011 at CNSE's Albany NanoTech Campus. G450C comprises the five leading chip companies with an interest in the next-generation wafer production; IBM, Intel, Globalfoundries, Samsung and TSMC.
There is a high degree of uncertainty about the introduction of 450-mm wafer production by TSMC or by any other semiconductor manufacturer with estimates varying from 2015 to 2018. That does, perhaps raise the possibility of consortium-owned 450-mm wafer fab being set down in New York, but in general the semiconductor industry finds it hard to work in this way in the competitive commercial world.
And it is interesting to note that in Chinese culture the Azalea is known as the "thinking-of-home" bush.
They are already expanding the foundry to have the capability to produce the 450mm wafer and the city just approved the construction of a new 3 story, 565,000sqft manufacturing research center. Combine that with Global Foundries 300,000sqft clean room and that is expanding as well i think they are beefing up quite well.
Albany/capital region New York would be a wise choice for TSMC's next plant. With a region that is 400 years old & deep in industry & innovation from Thomas Edison's lab to the creation of General Electric. Combine that with the high quality of life the region offers, ranging from the beautiful Adirondack mountains where the Olympics were held twice at Lake Placid. To the home of the 4th best engineering school in the world Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and also the home of Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering which is the leader and pioneer in nanotechnology education, research and economic outreach. Also Albany is known for one of the most highly educated work forces in the world and is located to some of the most unique & innovative cities in the world like New York City, Boston and Montreal.
GF future plan for existing site as I know is 3 fabs, and they have dedicated future fab plan team already. So site selection for new land in Albany is not necessary for GF I think.
Intel, Samsung, and this other company (TSMC) have what seems more real and urgent plan. GF would have to act quick to make it happen in same time but has capability but maybe not money, and preferred plan was fab in middle east (crazy plan but that was where the money was)
Who would have think possible foundry capacity race in US??
unlike state like Texas and California, New York economy is so bad they are just giving huge cash away to Globalfoundries to make their fab. I think same situation for another company...just more business friendly in New York right now. But yes, end result may be intimidating to global
I wondered when this news would hit EE Times. This is big news for USA.
In 2010 there was big rumor that Apple forced Samsung to open logic fab in US to make the exclusive apple sales contract. If apple will move away from samsung in the future, they again may make US manufacturing requirement.
TSMC new fab in US and specifically new york makes a logical choice, but maybe only if Apple is requiring it. Otherwise just make another fab in Taiwan, or elsewhere in Asia for current customer.
Also intel doubling size of D1X fab in Oregon must have some big customer plan...either of these new fab could supply dedicated chip output to apple. And still samsung is making big expansion of their US fab for apple. So it could be 3-way race in US for apple contract between TSMC, Intel and samsung.
Hi Peter - if this plays out, that is, if TSMC does in fact build a fab "next" to GF in upstate NY, this would be the epitome of competitor intimidation. I guess all is fair in "love" and semiconductor customer competition, especially in the foundry business.