8 June 2021
GlobalFoundries and GlobalWafers partner to expand SOI wafer supply
GlobalFoundries (GF) of Santa Clara, CA, USA (which has operations in Singapore, Germany and the USA) and Taiwan-based silicon wafer manufacturer GlobalWafers Co Ltd (GWC) have announced an $800m agreement to add 300mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer manufacturing and expand existing 200mm SOI wafer production at GWC’s MEMC facility in O’Fallon, Missouri.
The announcement expands GF’s domestic silicon wafer supply from the USA. In particular, the 300mm wafers made at GWC’s MEMC site in Missouri will be used at GF’s most advanced manufacturing facility, Fab 8 in Malta, New York, and the 200mm wafers made at the Missouri site will be used at GF’s Fab 9 in Essex Junction, Vermont. These wafers will be used to create feature-rich semiconductor solutions to meet the sharply growing demand for GF’s RF technologies across a range of applications including 5G smartphones, wireless connectivity, automotive radar, and aerospace.
The long-term agreement includes nearly $210m in capital expenditures to expand GWC’s MEMC facility in Missouri and will create more than 75 new jobs. The 300mm pilot line is on track to be completed in fourth-quarter 2021. The agreement is strengthened by $9.4m in investments and support from the State of Missouri, as well as support from the City of O’Fallon, Ameren Missouri, Spire, and Greater St. Louis Inc.
GF is investing $1.4bn in 2021 alone to expand its manufacturing capacity, to meet the needs of customers and address the growing global demand for computer chips. As part of this growth, GF will require an increased supply of wafers like those made by GWC. GWC has a long and ongoing relationship for supplying 200mm SOI wafers to GF. In February 2020, GWC and GF announced the intention to collaborate closely to significantly expand GWC’s existing 300mm SOI wafer manufacturing capacity. The latest announcement signals a significant step forward in that collaboration.
The announcement comes at a time when the USA is seeking to fortify and expand its semiconductor supply chain. Only 12% of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity is in the USA. Critical to increasing the number of chips manufactured in the USA, and making US chip manufacturing more globally competitive, are federal investments like those enabled by the bipartisan-supported US Innovation and Competition Act and the already passed CHIPS for America Act.
“Semiconductors are critical to our national security and economic competitiveness,” comments US Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, an instrumental supporter of the US Innovation and Competition Act. “The supply chain of these computer chips is highly complex and largely dominated by other countries. We need to begin making more chips at home to protect US industries from chip shortages like we have seen in recent months. Today’s announcement is good news for semiconductor manufacturing and will create steady, good-paying, high-tech jobs for Missourians,” he adds.
“As a trusted semiconductor manufacturer and supplier to the US government, and the world leader in RF semiconductor technology, GF has been leading the charge to accelerate US semiconductor manufacturing and boost our capacity to meet the growing global demand for chips,” says GF’s CEO Tom Caulfield. “The kind of partnership we are announcing today with GWC is only possible thanks to Congressional leadership and the renewed national interest in growing US semiconductor manufacturing capacity,” he adds.
“We are proud to deepen our strategic partnership with GF, and to expand our important role in the US semiconductor supply chain,” says GWC’s chairman & CEO Doris Hsu.
“For more than six decades, we have been the home of MEMC and its manufacturing of world-class silicon wafers,” notes O’Fallon mayor Bill Hennessy.
GF employs more than 7000 people across the USA. Over the past 12 years, the firm has invested $15bn in US semiconductor development, and it is doubling its planned investment in 2021 to expand global capacity and support growing demand from the USA government and industry customers for secure processing and connectivity applications.