Bosch’s Dresden wafer fab prepares for production
At a time when automobile companies are struggling with chip supply shortages this will be welcome news. However, preparing for, and then ramping production, will take several quarters. Bosch plans to officially open its wafer fab in June 2021 with production operations scheduled to start late 2021.
However, there appears to have been a delay. The 300mm fab has been under construction since June 2018 and as recently as October 2019 it was stated that the Dresden wafer fab was expected to start operations in spring 2020 (see Bosch to enter production of SiC power semiconductors).
The fab makes use of 5G communications and artificial intelligence for extensive automation and will be used for the manufacture of power semiconductors and ASICs for automotive applications down to a minimum geometry of 65nm, according to a company spokesperson. As well as being a place to manufacture chips the fab is intended to be an exemplar of “Industry 4.0” and how automation can reduce staffing levels required and raise productivity.
The use of 300mm-diameter wafers in Dresden will allow Bosch’s older fabs at Reutlingen – that run 150mm and 200mm diameter wafers – to focus on MEMS and other small components that do not benefit from 300mm economies of scale.
Next: Cleanroom size? Manufacturing capacity?
The fab has a budget of about €1 billion with significant funding being provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The company states that the building offers 72,000 square meters of floor space with a 10,000 square meter within that. The spokesperson said the company does not comment on manufacturing capacity.
The shell was completed in late 2019 with the first complete run through for a wafer in November 2020. The final construction phase will see up to 700 people working in the Dresden fab to control and monitor production and maintain the machinery.
“Chips for tomorrow’s mobility solutions and greater safety on our roads will soon be produced in Dresden. We plan to open our chip factory of the future before the year is out,” says Harald Kroeger, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, in a statement.
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