In what may be an attempt by President Trump to reset his turbulent relationship with the high tech industry, he and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today announced plans to invest more than $7 billion to complete Fab 42. When completed Fab 42 will be the most advanced semiconductor factory in the world according to Intel. The new fab is targeting use of a 7 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process.
A report in the Wall Street Journal today noted, “It wasn’t immediately clear what role the Trump administration might be playing in facilitating the plant’s opening. Mr. Trump and his aides talk often about reducing the cost of doing business in the U.S. by easing regulatory and other burdens. The official said Wednesday Intel officials are expected to emphasize the administration’s tax and regulatory overhaul agenda.”
There’s been much discussion around 10nm and 7nm process technology and Intel’s plans to use them. Other major semiconductor manufacturers have forged ahead and in the summer of 2015 IBM announced “the world’s first 7nm node test chips with functioning transistors, accomplished via a partnership with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE).” It noted production 7nm chips are at least two years away, but that IBM has delivered on its promise to develop the process node.” (See HPCwire article, IBM First to 7nm Process with Working Transistors)
“Intel is a global manufacturing and technology company, yet we think of ourselves as a leading American innovation enterprise,” said Krzanich in the release announcing the deal. “America has a unique combination of talent, a vibrant business environment and access to global markets, which has enabled U.S. companies like Intel to foster economic growth and innovation. Our factories support jobs — high-wage, high-tech manufacturing jobs that are the economic engines of the states where they are located.”
Krazanich discussed the investment in an email to Intel employees.
Intel is largest U.S. high-technology capital expenditure investor ($5.1 billion in the U.S. 2015) and its third largest investor in global R&D ($12.1 billion in 20151). The majority of Intel’s manufacturing and R&D is in the United States. As a result, Intel employs more than 50,000 people in the United States, while directly supporting almost half a million other U.S. jobs across a range of industries, including semiconductor tooling, software, logistics, channels, OEMs and other manufacturers that incorporate our products into theirs.
Intel says completion of Fab 42 in 3 to 4 years will directly create approximately 3,000 high-tech, high-wage Intel jobs for process engineers, equipment technicians, and facilities-support engineers and technicians who will work at the site. Combined with the indirect impact on businesses that will help support the factory’s operations, Fab 42 is expected to create more than 10,000 total long-term jobs in Arizona.
Much of the high tech industry had spoken out against Trump’s recent travel restriction on select countries. (See HPCwire article, Here’s What HPC Leaders Say about Trump Travel Ban).
(Update: 2/12/17) – A day or so after the Fab 42 announcement, Intel posted a blog by Ann Kelleher, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group which added a bit more context. “Since we deferred Fab 42, we’ve been consistently saying, “Yes, we will need Fab 42 for future space, capacity and for future technologies.” Well, that time has come. So we’re starting to prepare Fab 42 for 7 nanometer. And, yes, this is a big deal,” wrote Kelleher. Link to the full blog is below.
Intel announcement (Intel Supports American Innovation with $7 Billion Investment in Next-Generation Semiconductor Factory in Arizona): https://newsroom.intel.com/news-releases/intel-supports-american-innovation-7-billion-investment-next-generation-semiconductor-factory-arizona/
WSJ article (Intel Corp. Announces $7 Billion Investment in Arizona Plant): https://www.wsj.com/articles/intel-corp-announces-7-billion-investment-in-arizona-plant-1486578589