GlobalFoundries, the world’s second largest contract maker of semiconductors, has received an approval from Malta's town board to expand its Fab 8 chip manufacturing plant in Saratoga County, New York. The formal permission does not mean that GlobalFoundries will actually start construction of a new factory any time soon, but just gives the company an opportunity to start serious planning.
GlobalFoundries first started to talk about its Fab 8/module 2 earlier this year. The contract maker of chips has not yet committed to building the fab, but semiconductor companies tend to receive approvals from local authorities sometime years before starting construction. GlobalFoundries will expand the Fab 8 complex in Luther Forest Technology Campus (LFTC) only in case it has enough orders from its customers to utilize existing production capacities.
Earlier this year, speaking at a conference dedicated to Globalfoundries’ new Technology Development Center (TDC), which will be located adjacent to the company’s Fab 8 and will cost $2 billion, Ajit Manocha, chief executive officer of the company, said that the company would continue to expand its presence in LFTC. One of the projects that the leading contract maker of chips is thinking of is Fab 8 module 2, which is projected to cost whopping $10 million.
The cost of around $10 billion is significantly higher than the total investments into Fab 8 module 1 ($6.9 billion), which may either point to the fact that the new factory will be significantly larger than the current one or that it will be GlobalFoundries’ first facility that processes 450mm wafers.
The land that GlobalFoundries owns in the LFTC was acquired with several modules of the Fab 8 in mind, hence, it is not a surprise that the company is looking forward to build additional production capacities in the New York state as the demand for leading-edge chips is on the rise. However, as it appears, under the terms of the deal with the city of Malta, the total amount of fab-related activities at the GlobalFoundries Fab 8 campus is limited to 980 000 square feet (91045m2) with no more than 2*300 000 of square feet (2*27871m2) of cleanroom space. Meanwhile, the Fab 8 module 1 already has footprint of around 491 054 square feet (45620m2) and contains 300 000 square feet (27871m2) of cleanroom space. The GlobalFoundries Fab 8 module one can produce 60 thousand 300mm wafers per month once fully completed in late 2013.