NETANYA, Israel Intel's next fab in Israel, Fab 28, being built at Kiryat Gat, is expected to generate exports worth $3 billion a year.
The estimate was given by Alex Kornhauser, Intel VP and head of the company’s activity in Israel, at a conference organized by the company last week.
Fab 28 is due to start operations in March 2008 and reach volume production in mid-2009.
"We hope to build a third fab here, for which have already allocated enough space," said Kornhauser.
The lines at Fab 28, using 300-mm wafers and a 45-nm process, will manufacture various processors, including Intel’s Santa Rosa processor, which is due to be launched later this year. The plant is expected to be processing 7,500 wafers a week from mid-2009.
According to Maxine Fassberg, vice president of the Technology and Manufacturing Group and Fab 28 plant manager for Intel, there are now 3,000 construction workers on the site and around 150 capital equipment companies are involved in the project.
The total investment is expected to reach $4 billion, including $1.1 billion in construction. Fab 28 will represent Israel’s largest construction project, and have an area of 130,000 square meters in four buildings, including 20,000 square meters of class 10 clean rooms.
Intel’s existing fab in Kiryat Gat, Fab 18, produces NOR flash memories for cellular devices. In the past week , it has been suggested the fab would be sold to STMicroelectronics or Sony-Ericsson.
Kornhauser declined to comment on these reports, but said that the company is investing $600 million in Fab 18. Most of the money is going to help the plant convert to from the current 90-nm to the company's 65-nm process.
Intel Israel’s exports reached $1.3 billion in 2006, up 9.2 percent from 2005. The company expects this to increase to $2 billion for this year. Exports from Israel between 1999 and 2006 reached $11 billion and the company has received $800 million in government grants.
The chip giant, which has been operating here since 1974, had 6,820 workers in Israel in 2006, including 3,000 at its four research and development centres.