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GlobalFoundries to build second chip fab next to NY HQ

And increase output of Fab 8 plant by 150,000 wafers per year

GlobalFoundries will build a second chip fabrication plant by its Fab 8 facility in Malta, New York, where it is now headquartered, and pledged to invest $1bn to increase that latter factory's output.

CEO Tom Caulfield announced the construction plan with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Monday. The goal is to crank out another 150,000 wafers every year from Fab 8, its most advanced facility, and employ thousands of employees at the new plant at the site. This is all amid a semiconductor shortage, in which suppliers can't keep up with global demand.

“Our industry is expected to grow more in the next decade than it did in the past 50 years and GF is stepping up to do its part as we work together to address the growing demand for technology innovation for the betterment of humanity,” Caulfield said in a canned statement.

“We are honored to be joined by government and automotive leaders, national security experts, and our valued customers to continue the critical discussions needed to create a reliable supply of American-made chips to support the US economy and national security.”

Schumer and others introduced the Endless Frontiers Act, which was expanded as the United States Innovation and Competition Act and lately advanced by the Senate. This, if passed by Congress, is expected to provide tens of billions of dollars in federal funding for the semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing provisions in the CHIPS for America Act, which itself was enacted in the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In short, public money may be on the way.

“Today’s announcement is a win-win-win: a win for jobs in the Capital Region, a win for GlobalFoundries, and a win for US government, automakers, and other critical industries that desperately need chips,” Schumer opined.

GlobalFoundries will focus on crafting chips for the automotive, 5G, and Internet-of-Things gadgets; its smallest process node is 12nm. This is behind leading-edge manufacturers, such as TSMC, which are famous for turning out state-of-the-art microprocessors and GPUs on 7 and 5nm, though bear in mind there continues to be a large demand for less-sophisticated components, such as microcontrollers, on, say, 28, 90, 130nm nodes that GlobalFoundries can provide. The Register has asked GlobalFoundries for comment.

Companies in automotive, 5G, and embedded electronics have found it difficult to secure the parts needed to build their products during the pandemic. Temporary closures of factories worldwide, hoarding of supplies, and a huge surge of demand for gear in servers, personal computers, and phones has led to a shortage of materials and dies for those in other industries.

Fab 8 is able to produce 14nm chips, many of which are for AMD. GlobalFoundries moved its headquarters from Santa Clara, California, to Malta, New York to be closer to its most advanced plant, in April.

Last week, it was rumored Intel was interested in snapping up GlobalFoundries for $30bn, presumably to give it more capacity at larger process nodes. GlobalFoundries gave up on being at the manufacturing bleeding-edge in 2018, sparking a lawsuit this year from IBM. ®

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