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23 September 2019

Cree increases capacity expansion plan by 25% while lowering net CapEx; largest SiC device manufacturing facility to be built in New York State

Silicon carbide (SiC) firm Cree Inc of Durham, NC, USA has announced plans to establish a silicon carbide corridor on the East Coast of the USA with the creation of the world’s largest silicon carbide fabrication facility. The firm will build a new automotive-qualified 200mm power & RF wafer fabrication facility in Marcy, NY, complemented by its mega materials factory expansion currently underway at its Durham headquarters.

Part of a previously announced project to dramatically increase capacity for its Wolfspeed silicon carbide and gallium nitride (GaN) business, the new fabrication facility will be a bigger, highly automated factory with greater output capability. Through a strategic partnership with the office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and other state and local agencies and entities, the decision to build in New York will allow for both continued future expansion of capacity and significant net cost savings for Cree, it is reckoned.

Cree will hence be able to meet the increasing demand for its Wolfspeed technology – supporting the growing electric vehicle (EV), 4G/5G mobile and industrial markets – as the industry transitions from silicon to silicon carbide technology.

“Silicon carbide is one of the most pivotal technologies of our time, and is at the heart of enabling innovation across a wide range of today’s most groundbreaking and revolutionary markets, including the transition from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles and the rollout of ultra-fast 5G networks,” says CEO Gregg Lowe. “This state-of-the-art, automotive-qualified wafer fabrication facility builds on our 30-year heritage of commercializing breakthrough technologies that help our customers deliver next-generation applications. We look forward to connecting our North Carolina and New York innovation hubs to drive the accelerated adoption of silicon carbide,” he adds.

“We’re excited to become part of Cree’s efforts to drive the transition from silicon to silicon carbide, and this partnership will be a key part of our work to strengthen the research and scientific assets that New York State will use to attract the industries and jobs of tomorrow,” says Empire State Development acting commissioner and president & CEO-designate Eric J. Gertler. “The Mohawk Valley offers a unique combination of valuable high-tech and scientific assets, and this is an important next step in growing our advanced manufacturing infrastructure and investing in our upstate economy.”

As part of the partnership, Cree is investing about $1bn in construction, equipment and other related costs for the New York fab. New York State will provide a $500m grant from Empire State Development and Cree will be eligible for additional local incentives and abatements as well as equipment and tooling from the State University of New York (SUNY). The firm hence expects to realize a net capital saving of about $280m on its previously announced $1bn capacity expansion through 2024. In addition, it will provide 25% increased output compared with the previously planned facility. Ramping in 2022, the size of the new facility will be up to 480,000ft2 upon completion (about a quarter of which will be cleanroom space), providing future expansion capacity as needed.

Creation of the silicon carbide corridor

With a mega materials factory in Durham and a wafer fabrication facility near Utica, Cree says it will establish a ‘silicon carbide corridor’, leveraging its 30-year heritage of R&D in the Research Triangle of North Carolina and tapping into the technological base of resources in New York’s Mohawk Valley.

Cree plans to partner with local community and four-year colleges in North Carolina and New York to develop training and internship programs to prepare its workforce for the high-tech employment and long-term growth opportunities in both locations that the revised expansion plan presents.

See related items:

Cree investing $1bn to expand SiC materials production and power & RF fab capacity by up to 30-fold

Cree and ST sign multi-year SiC wafer supply agreement

Cree signs long-term SiC wafer supply deal with leading power device maker

Cree signs $100m long-term deal to supply 150mm SiC wafers to Infineon

Tags: Cree Wolfspeed SiC Power electronics

Visit: www.cree.com

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