26 April 2023
Bosch acquiring US chipmaker TSI, adding California plant to Reutlingen and Dresden fabs in Germany
As part of expanding its semiconductor business into silicon carbide (SiC) chip manufacturing, Robert Bosch GmbH of Reutlingen, Germany plans to acquire TSI Semiconductors of Roseville, CA, USA.
As an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) foundry with 250 staff, TSI currently mainly develops and produces large volumes of chips on 200mm silicon wafers for applications in the mobility, telecoms, energy, and life sciences sectors. In the next few years, Bosch intends to invest more than $1.5bn in the Roseville site and convert the TSI manufacturing facilities to silicon carbide (SiC) processes, targeting production of chips on 200mm wafers from 2026.
Bosch hence aims to have significantly extended its global portfolio of SiC chips by the end of 2030, as the global boom and ramp-up of electro-mobility is resulting in huge demand, says Bosch. The full scope of the planned investment will be heavily dependent on federal funding opportunities available via the US CHIPS and Science Act as well as economic development opportunities within the State of California. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
Picture: TSI Semiconductors’ plant in Roseville, California.
“With the acquisition of TSI Semiconductors, we are establishing manufacturing capacity for SiC chips in an important sales market while also increasing our semiconductor manufacturing globally,” says Dr Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch board of management. “The existing cleanroom facilities and expert personnel in Roseville will allow us to manufacture SiC chips for electro-mobility on an even larger scale,” he adds.
“The location in Roseville has existed since 1984. Over nearly 40 years, the US company has built up vast expertise in semiconductor production,” notes Bosch board member Dr Markus Heyn, chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector. “We will now be integrating this expertise into the Bosch semiconductor manufacturing network,” he adds.
“We are pleased to join a globally operating technology company with extensive semiconductor expertise,” comments TSI’s CEO Oded Tal. “Our Roseville location will be a significant addition to Bosch’s SiC chipmaking operations.”
Acquisition creates new manufacturing capacity
The new location in Roseville will reinforce Bosch’s international semiconductor manufacturing network. Starting in 2026, following a re-tooling phase, the first SiC chips will be produced on 200mm wafers in a facility with about 10,000m2 of cleanroom space.
Bosch says that it invested in the development and production of SiC chips at an early stage. Since 2021, it has been using its own proprietary processes to mass produce them at its Reutlingen plant near Stuttgart. In the future, Reutlingen will also produce them on 200mm wafers. By the end of 2025, the firm will have extended its cleanroom space in Reutlingen from about 35,000m2 to more than 44,000 m2. “SiC chips are a key component for electrified mobility,” notes Heyn. “By extending our semiconductor operations internationally, we are strengthening our local presence in an important electric vehicle market.”
Demand for chips for the automotive industry remains high. By 2025, Bosch expects to have an average of 25 of its chips integrated in every new vehicle. The SiC chip market is also continuing to grow rapidly – by 30% annually, on average. The main drivers are the global boom and ramp-up of electro-mobility. In electric vehicles, SiC chips enable greater range and more efficient recharging, as they use up to 50% less energy. Installed in these vehicles’ power electronics, they ensure that a vehicle can drive a significantly longer distance on one battery charge – on average, the possible range is 6% greater than with silicon-based chips.