November 27. 2006 – STMicroelectronics has inaugurated a new 200mm wafer fab line at its Agrate site near Milan, Italy, dedicated to manufacturing MEMS devices, saying it is the first major MEMS maker to make the devices on 200mm wafers.
T says it spent about $40 million to upgrade the 150mm line, which also supports MEMS R&D activities based in the company’s nearby Castelletto design center in nearby Castelletto. The line currently has about 1300 sq. m eventually will nearly double in size to 2500 sq. m depending market demand.
Pietro Palella, GM of STMicroelectronics’ Italian operations, noted that the investment in a 200mm line underlines a commitment to maintaining a competitive manufacturing base in Italy, in the face of an continued global trend of moving manufacturing operations to the Far East, while “also continually capitalizing on the intellectual talents of Europe,” he said, in a statement.
The move to 200mm MEMS manufacturing also will help reduce unit costs, and accelerate both the expansion of current applications and the development of new MEMS markets, according to ST.
Benedetto Vigna, GM of ST’s MEMS business unit, pointed to forecasted growth of about 100% in the five years from 2005 to 2010, for a worldwide MEMS market approaching $10 billion by 2010, according to figures from market research firms In-Stat, Nexus and Yole Development.