August 18, 2022
Intel Breaks Ground on -Billion Arizona Plants as US Chip Factory Race Heats Up


Intel on Friday broke ground on two new factories in Arizona as part of its turnaround plan to become a major manufacturer of chips for external customers.

The $20 billion plants – Fab 52 and Fab 62 – will bring the total number of Intel factories to six on its campus in Chandler, Arizona. They’ll build on Intel’s most advanced chipmaking technology and play a central role in the California-based company’s Santa Clara, California-based company to gain its lead in making the smallest, fastest chips by 2025, after trailing rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.

The new Arizona plants will also be the first Intel to be built from the ground up with space reserved for outside customers. Intel has long made its own chips, but its turnaround plan calls for working for outsiders like Qualcomm, Amazon.com’s cloud unit, as well as deepening its manufacturing ties with the US military.

“We want more flexibility for the supply chain,” Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger, who attended a White House meeting on global chip shortages earlier in the week, told Reuters in an interview. “As the only company on American soil that can perform the most advanced lithography processes in the world, we are about to take a massive step forward.”

Gelsinger said it was too early to say how much of the new plants’ capacity would be reserved for outside customers. He said the plants would produce “thousands” of wafers per week.

Wafers are silicon disks on which the chips are built, and each may contain hundreds or even thousands of chips.

Intel rival TSMC has also purchased land to build its first US campus in Phoenix, not far from Intel’s location, where TSMC plans to have up to six chip factories, Reuters previously reported.

Gelsinger said Intel plans to announce another US campus site before the end of the year that will eventually house eight chip factories.

Thomson Reuters 2021


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