December 24, 2004 – SEH America Inc. will begin producing 300mm silicon wafers at its Vancouver plant, reported The Oregonian. The news, which the company announced Tuesday, comes as SEH’s Japanese parent company undertakes a major expansion to make the larger-diameter wafers.
The company said it would begin production with a limited number of 300mm wafers, then expand if successful. SEH said it would retrofit an older building to accommodate the new production. It declined to specify how much it would invest in new equipment, when production would begin or whether any jobs would be created.
The company said most operators in the 300mm plant would be selected from among current employees, and any later phases might require external hiring.
SEH has slashed employment in Vancouver from almost 1900 in 1998 to 710. SEH’s parent company, Shin-Etsu Handotai, said it was undertaking major expansion of 300mm wafer production in Japan. By fall 2006, it plans to boost production from the current level of 300,000 wafers/month to 500,000/month. The Vancouver project will be the company’s first production of 300mm wafers outside of Japan.
A company statement said the decision to invest in Clark County was based in part on the company’s desire to diversify geographically and assure customers of stable supplies in all circumstances.