Germany expertise and elements provider Robert Bosch opened a €1 billion ($1.2 billion) chip manufacturing facility in Dresden, Germany on Monday, the one largest funding within the firm’s historical past. The plant, which can primarily provide automotive clients, is a significant sign that linked and electrical automobiles are right here to remain.
“No matter which powertrain we speak about … at all times we want a semiconductor and sensor,” Bosch’s govt vice chairman of automotive electronics Jens Fabrowsky informed TechCrunch.
The plant will deal with front-of-the-line processing, or wafer fabrication, within the semiconductor manufacturing course of. The 300-millimeter wafers can be despatched to companions, sometimes in Asia, to do packaging and meeting of the semiconductors.
300 millimeters is a “new discipline of expertise,” Fabrowsky defined. Versus the 150- or 200-millimeter wafers which might be produced at Bosch’s close by manufacturing facility in Reutlingen, Germany, the bigger wafer dimension provides better economies of scale as a result of you may produce extra particular person chips per wafer.
The 77,500-square-foot plant will run on what Bosch calls “AIoT,” a time period that mixes synthetic intelligence and Web of Issues to indicate a completely linked and data-driven system that’s distinctive to the power. Bosch is not going to solely have real-time information on the roughly 100 machines, but additionally on the ability, water and different points of the power — as much as 500 pages of information per second, Fabrowsky mentioned. The AI-driven algorithm ought to detect an anomaly from any of the linked sensors instantly.
Regardless of its excessive ranges of automation, the plant will make use of round 700 individuals as soon as it’s absolutely operational.
It’s unclear whether or not the plant will assist resolve the continued world semiconductor scarcity, which has compelled automakers like Common Motors and Ford to slash manufacturing volumes and quickly shutter manufacturing services.
“On the level after we determined [to build the plant] it was purely pushed by expertise,” Fabrowsky mentioned. “It was clear we would have liked to enter 300 [millimeters], and we would have liked to spend money on some extra capability.”
The power will start manufacturing in July with chips for energy instruments earlier than starting manufacturing on automotive chips in September. It usually takes over 20 weeks to make a semiconductor chip, Fabrowsky mentioned, together with 600 particular person steps within the wafer facility alone.
The corporate can even be investing €50 million ($61 million) to increase the clear room services at its Reutlingen plant, Bosch board member Harald Kroeger mentioned at a media briefing Monday.
Bosch has utilized to Germany’s Federal Ministry for Financial Affairs and Vitality underneath a microelectronics funding program to subsidize expenditures for the plant of as much as €200 million ($244 million). It should submit proof of expenditures earlier than it receives the funds, a Bosch spokesperson informed TechCrunch.