LONDON As expected, automotive chip maker Robert Bosch GmbH (Reutlingen, Germany) has opened formally a 200-mm wafer fab at the Bosch location in Reutlingen. At a total cost of 600 million euros (about $1.1 billion) the fab, which will make a variety of ICs and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), is the largest single investment in Bosch's history.
EE Times provided some details of the fab in February. The formal opening took place on March 18.
Once the fab is fully equipped, which is scheduled to take up to 2016, the plant will be capable of producing a million chips per day and employ 800 people, the company said.
The 200-mm wafer fab has been built along-side a 6-inch wafer fab that has been in operation since 1995. ICs produced on the sire are used in electronic control units (ECUs) in automobile engines, electronic stabilizers and ride control, airbag, night-vision and driver assistance systems. However, Bosch said that its MEMS devices are being used, increasingly, in consumer electronics such as notebook computers and cell phones.
Bosch has also set up a test center at its Reutlingen location. There the semiconductor circuits and MEMS sensors are finally tested and programmed according to their eventual applications.
"Despite the economic crisis, we had the will, the strength, and the resources to see this project through," said Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch board of management, at the opening of the wafer fab.
"Making engines even more economical and making driving even safer, will only be feasible with an increasing level of technology, particularly electronics," Fehrenbach said.
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