DRESDEN, Germany GlobalFoundries Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.), already at the start of building a $5 billion wafer fab in New York state, appears to be getting ready to announce further expansion plans to help it profit from strong demand for foundry manufacturing services.
Additional expansion would also help GlobalFoundries compete with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan), which recently announced plans to build a third 300-mm gigafab capable of 100,000 wafer starts per month. The fab, to be located in the Central Taiwan Science Park, will support 28-nm processes and cost $3 billion, according to reports.
After speaking at the Future Horizon's International Electronics Forum Mojy Chian, vice president of design enablement at GlobeFoundries, was asked how his company could compete with TSMC on cost given its lack of gigafabs. "Advanced technology is not only about cost. At 45-nm we have showed that we can go to high volume production very quickly at high yield," said Chian referring specifically to advanced manufacturing at 45-nm and below.
But when pressed by conference organizer Malcolm Penn, who asked if GlobalFoundries would be outgunned by TSMC by 4 to 1, just as Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) has been outgunned by Intel Corp., Chian said GlobalFoundries was not so far behind TSMC and that soon to be announced capacity expansions would close the gap. "Does that include TSMC's third 100K wafer fab?" Penn asked "The numbers will be comparable," said Chian.
Further expansion of the projected wafer starts could be possible in New York and Dresden. Fab 1 in Dresden is currently due to go to 60,000 wafers per month capacity by mid-2012. Fab 8, under construction in New York state, is due to start running commercial wafers in mid 2012. That fab is projected to have a fully loaded capacity of 42,000 wafers per month.
Ultimately GlobalFoundries could consider building a wafer fab in Abu Dhabi, which is funding the creation and expansion of the company. "We are a global company. We look at all locations [for wafer fabs] and, of course, Abu Dhabi is a candidate," said Chian.