Globalfoundries Claims 300mm Fabs Are Enough for Modern Chips

Globalfoundries: Lean Manufacturing Is Most Efficient

by Anton Shilov
07/14/2009 | 10:32 PM

Globalfoundries, one of the leading contract semiconductor makers, said that 300mm chip factories still have a lot of potential. The company claims that it does not make sense to transit to 450mm wafers and change loads of manufacturing equipment since modern semiconductor factories can still be improved.


“The rush to 450mm suggests a lack of ideas for improving fab productivity. At Globalfoundries, we see a tremendous amount of headroom left in the 300mm process. We are tapping our expertise in lean manufacturing to extend the lifecycle of the industry’s current 300mm investments, and we are investing more than $4 billion in a new 300mm fab in upstate New York because we are confident in our ability to get the most out of this technology generation,” said Thomas Sonderman said, vice president of manufacturing systems and technology at Globalfoundries.

In its effort to meet the ever-increasing demands of consumer technology, the semiconductor industry has long been preoccupied with smaller transistors and larger silicon wafers. While these are important tactics, opportunities for increasing efficiency, becoming more agile, and minimizing waste are often overlooked in manufacturing processes, according to Thomas Sonderman.

At Semicon West 2009 conference, Mr. Sonderman is calling for a renewed focus on operational agility in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, particularly in light of increased pressure to move to processes based on 450mm wafers.

During the transition to 45nm, Globalfoundries achieved the fastest time to mature yield of any process in its history, while simultaneously implementing a complex new form of lithography –immersion lithography – ahead of all other semiconductor manufacturers. Immersion lithography allows for enhanced microprocessor design definition and manufacturing consistency by placing a fluid, instead of air, between the final element of the lens of a lithographic exposure tool and the wafer.

All wafer starts in Fab 1, Module 1 have now been converted to 45nm, a process that is proving to deliver few defects, low leakage, and high performance, according to Globalfoundries.

“When Fab 2 begins volume production in approximately 2012, it will be part of an integrated global network linked by the next generation of Automated Precision Manufacturing. The next generation of APM will feature interoperable technologies across multiple fabs and the implementation of lean processes in all aspects of manufacturing, from the front end of the supply chain to the final wafers out the door of the fab,” said Norm Armour, vice president and general manager of Globalfoundries’ Fab 2.

Mr. Armour will participate today in the annual SEMI Press Luncheon at SEMICON West, where he will present a history of the Fab 2 project and an overview of the capabilities of the new leading-edge facility, which is being designed to support 28/22nm process technologies.