Intel Continues Buying Blitz

By Lisa Nadile

SANTA CLARA, CA—Intel has announced an investment plan that will add a total of 253,000 ft2 of cleanroom space for wafer manufacturing. Last week, company officials said Intel will spend $2 billion to construct a new fab in Chandler, AZ with a 133,000 ft2 cleanroom. On Tuesday, the chip giant announced its intent to purchase a Rockwell International facility, which has 120,000 ft2 of cleanroom space. The deal and the site's renovation amount to a $1.5 billion dollar investment.

These investments are part of Intel's plan to increase manufacturing capacity using a $5 billion allotment. As of this week the company's announcements leave $1.5 billion left remaining to their plan.

The Rockwell purchase consists of two vacant fabs and several support buildings on 60 acres. The site will be renovated, equipped, and manufacturing flash memory within 11 months. Chip giant officials say they will create more than 1,000 jobs for the city.

“We'll be bringing in all new equipment,” says Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman based in Santa Clara, CA.

The Rockwell facility has two main buildings. One is a vacant 268,000 ft2 manufacturing and support building, which will be the location of an Intel sort and test operation. The second fab is 676,000 ft2 with 120,000 ft2 cleanroom. This building is where Intel will manufacture 0.18µm, 200mm semiconductors using 8-inch wafers.

According to Mulloy, one of the reasons for purchasing this facility was the area's recruitment potential. Not only is the available workforce a plus, “but the proximity of Pikes Peak Community College is another valuable resource, he says. The college offers a program in integrated circuit fabrication.

Company officials say this project is the short term solution for Intel's need to increase capacity while the new Chandler fab is built. According to Mulloy, this project will begin producing 200mm wafers in mid-2001, with 300mm, 0.13µm production phased in according to the development of the market.

The company is waiting for the city to approve the final construction permits. Approval is expected within the next couple weeks, Mulloy.

“This will be a staged implementation of a 300mm fab. In mid-2001, production of 200mm, 0.18µm will begin,” the spokesman says. “However, the facility will be constructed to meet 300mm production specifications for 0.13µm,” Malloy says. When manufacturing of these products begin they will incorporate Intel's copper metallization process technology.


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