by Anton Shilov
01/14/2014 | 11:50 PM
Intel Corp. has announced that it had decided to delay installation of equipment into its latest Fab 42 facility in Chandler, Arizona. The world’s largest chipmaker decided not to equip the fab to make chips using 14nm process technology, but to leave the building for future manufacturing tools and process technologies. The company will use existing buildings to make 14nm chips.
“The new construction is going to be left vacant for now and it will be targeted at future technologies. The newer fab has not been equipped with the capital equipment. It has heating and air conditioning but the actual tools, the expensive stuff, are not in there,” said Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Intel, said in an interview with Reuters news-agency.
Intel initiated building its Fab 42 in 2011 with the intent to create the most advanced, high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. The construction of the building was complete in 2013, but the company made the decision not to move-in semiconductor manufacturing equipment into the new fab.
Artist's rendering of the $5 billion Fab 42 chip manufacturing facility and support buildings
Originally, Fab 42 was supposed to produce chips using 14nm process technology on 300mm wafers. In case Intel does not require additional 14nm manufacturing capacity, the fab will be used to make chips at 10nm or even thinner nodes, which require different types of equipment than those used to manufacture processors using 14nm or 22nm fabrication processes.
Initial fabs to produce new-generation microprocessors based on the code-named Broadwell micro-architecture using 14nm process technology will be D1D and D1X module 1 in Hillsboro, Oregon. Besides, Intel is now converting its existing fab 32 to 14nm process technology.
Sales of the world’s largest producer of microprocessors have been growing slower than expected due to soft demand for personal computers (the company’s main revenue source) amid growing shipments of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. As a result, Intel has to reconsider its manufacturing capacity expansion plans as well as product roadmap.