LONDON Intel Corp. is finishing the decommissioning of its Fab 14 in Leixlip near Dublin, Ireland. This reduces the number of wafer fabs Intel operates in Ireland to three; numbered 10, 24 and 24-2.
The fab, which started operation in 1995, is in the middle of Intel's extensive site in County Kildare. There is the possibility that it could receive further investment and be recommissioned as a 300-mm wafer fab. A decision is not expected before the end of 2010 or early in 2011, according to company sources.
Intel is celebrating 20 years of manufacturing in Ireland but the long-term future of the site looks set to depend on a decision whether to bring Intel's 1270 (45-nm) or 1268 (32-nm) process technology to the site or to conduct pilot work on 450-mm wafers.
The company has stripped the Fab 14 building back to a shell and has even taken out the perforated flooring used to enable laminar air flow in the clean room areas.
Intel announced it would mothball Fab 14 in July 2009 at the same time as it announced the cutting of 294 jobs. The compulsory redundancy announcement came soon after Intel had sought approximately 200 voluntary redundancies at the beginning of 2009. Some equipment has been moved into the neighboring Fab 10 to increase the manufacturing capacity there. The last piece of equipment left Fab 14 just before the end of 2009, sources said.
Fab 14 was a 200-mm wafer fab that was making relatively mature products on older technologies. Its final manufacturing role was making flash memory. When Intel moved its flash operations into a joint venture with STMicroelectronics called Numonyx Fab 14 was not included in the deal but the fab continued to supply Numonyx with product on a temporary contract basis. Numonyx is now being purchased by Micron Technologies Inc. (Boise, Idaho).
Intel's Fab 10 makes legacy products on a variety of process technologies. Fabs 24 and 24-2 are 300-mm wafer fabs manufacture on 90- and 65-nm process technologies.
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