Intel breaks ground for two advanced chip fabs in Arizona

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What just happened Intel has begun building two advanced chip factories in Arizona that will help the company build increased manufacturing capacity and a more resilient global supply chain. The move comes as part of a race to expand chip manufacturing capacities and is motivated by the company’s ambition to recapture the leading position in process and packaging technology.

Intel today broke ground for two chip factories in Arizona, which are expected to be fully operational in 2024. The two manufacturing facilities will be referred to as Fab 52 and Fab 62 and will be built near four existing fabs on the company’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger met with government officials to celebrate what he believes is the largest private investment in Arizona history. The $ 20 billion project will expand the company’s manufacturing capabilities and house state-of-the-art EUV production lines to create the world’s most advanced chips.

Gelsinger believes this will help Intel regain its “undisputed leadership in process and packaging technology” and create thousands of new jobs by 2025. This includes 3,000 high-paying high-tech jobs, 3,000 construction jobs and 15,000 additional indirect jobs in the region.

The new chip factories are part of Intel’s renewed IDM 2.0 strategy, in which the company’s newly established Intel Foundry Services (IFS) division is taking on contract manufacturing for other companies for the first time in the company’s history.

At the same time, the company says it is doing its part to rebuild U.S. leadership in the semiconductor space and create a more balanced global supply chain for advanced chips. To this end, IFS President Randhir Thakur urged the Biden government to consider increasing funding for domestic semiconductor manufacturing beyond the $ 52 billion currently allocated for this direction.

Team Blue’s new endeavors are off to a great start. In July, Intel Foundry Services announced its first two high-profile customers – Qualcomm and Amazon. Last month the company also won a contract with the Pentagon for the first phase of the Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototype – Commercial (RAMP-C) program to build systems with American chips.

Once operational, the two new Arizona factories will produce chips using Intel’s 20A process, the first to use its “RibbonFET” version of Gate-All-Around (GAA) transistors and PowerVia interconnects. Gelsinger wouldn’t say how much of the new capacity will be reserved for Intel Foundry Services customers because it’s too early to be an accurate estimate. However, he said the two fabs will have a combined production capacity of “thousands” of wafers per week.

And that is just the beginning. Intel already talked the beans earlier this year about plans to spend between $ 60 billion and $ 120 billion to build a new mega-fab in the US to be more competitive with TSMC and Samsung. Intel will also provide $ 95 billion to build two chip factories in Europe. The company is currently in talks with several officials to obtain subsidies from the EU Fund for Reconstruction and Resilience.

Gelsinger says the company will announce the locations of the new locations in the coming months.

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