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Why Did Intel Press Pause on Fab 42?

Last week was a blur of innovation with all the product announcements flowing out of CES.  Exciting new products that should help drive future semiconductor sales, right?  How is it, then, after all of last week's hysteria, that this week brings the news that Intel is delaying the startup of its Fab 42 in Chandler, Arizona?  This is a brand-new 300mm fab that just finished construction; wouldn't Intel want to get it ramped up right away to churn out parts for all those new wearable devices and IoT-enabled appliances? 

Unfortunately, two of Intel's major end markets, desktop and notebook computers, have stagnated with the growth in the tablet PC category.  Tablets use lower-cost MPUs that Intel is still working to gain a foothold in.  The Internet of Things has already spurred growth in the sensor market but as an integrated system is yet to really catch on.  That means  demand for significant manufacturing capacity for IoT applications is still low.  Intel's fabs are running at about 80% capacity due to increasing production efficiency.  

However, Semico believes it is just a matter of time before Intel will need Fab 42 up and running.   At over 200,000ft2, the fab was planned to start production at 14nm, and to be converted to 450mm when that wafer size is viable.  Intel's D1X Mod 1 development fab at its Hillsboro, Oregon campus was also built as a 300mm fab that can be converted to 450mm.  The company also has D1X Mod 2 that is being constructed as the world's first 450mm fab, although it will be used primarily for development. 

Intel's Fab 42 is just one of over 860 semiconductor fabs that Semico tracks in its Fab Database.  The database includes detailed information about the fabs, including the operating status of the fab, its location, process and products, wafer size and capacity, and more.  The database is updated quarterly, and is accompanied by a summary of updates made to the fabs over the past quarter.  

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For More information, contact Rick Vogelei.
Phone: (480) 435 - 8564