DRESDEN, Germany – Fab 1, the 300-mm operation of GlobalFoundries Inc. here, could be used for 20-nm process technology and for processing 450-mm wafers, according to, Rutger Wijburg, vice president and Fab 1 general manager. Wijburg was speaking to a group of journalists being given a tour of the Dresden wafer fab on Friday, June 15.
Fab 1 is Europe's largest and most advanced wafer fab but it is about to get eclipsed in GlobalFoundries' portfolio by a wafer fab being brought online in Malta, New York, which will run 20-nm process technology on 300-mm wafers. Meanwhile Fab 1 is itself in the middle of a $3 billion upgrade that will take its manufacturing capacity to 80,000 300-mm wafer starts per month or 1 million wafer starts per year. That influx of equipment into a 12,000 square foot clean room known as the annex, was begun in mid-2011 is due to continue on an "as needed' basis until 2014.
Wijburg clearly intends that Dresden should not become a sunset wafer fab, gradually falling further behind the leading-edge as time goes by, but no decisions on an upgrade to a 20-nm process have been taken yet. The hope would be that Fab 1 in Dresden can prove is value and get a vote of confidence from the top of the organization, just as Intel's Leixlip fab in Dublin did recently. It was revealed in May that the Intel wafer fab complex in Leixlip, Ireland, currently using older processes, is set to receive about $1 billion investment to equip it to manufacture 14-nm silicon and beyond.
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The Annex is the fifth cleanroom within GlobalFoundries' Fab 1 in Dresden. Source: GlobalFoundries
Of GlobalFoundries in Dresden Wijburg, said: "First 28-nm then maybe we can move to 20-nm or a larger wafer size." It is clear that 28-nm manufacturing at high yield is the first priority. At the same time the company will add embedded memory and mixed-signal and RF options to its processing to broaden its appeal.
This emphasis on performance is no surprise because the industry gossip of 2011 was that problems with yield at 28-nm led to Advanced Micro Devices Inc. recasting purchase agreements and seeking out alternative suppliers. "That has been fixed," said Wijburg.
The danger was that GlobalFoundries would lose it anchor customer AMD before it broaden its customer base, as it migrated from being the manufacturing operation of AMD to being an independent foundry majority owned by an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund.