This week, Malta, New York-based semiconductor giant GLOBALFOUNDRIES announced together with global silicon wafer maker GlobalWafers Co. (GWC) a joint, $800 million deal to add 300mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer manufacturing and expand existing 200mm SOI wafer production at GWC’s production facility in O’Fallon, Missouri.
GWC’s silicon wafers, which are key inputs for feature-rich semiconductors and a critical part of GLOBALFOUNDRIES supply chain, will significantly expand GLOBALFOUNDRIES domestic silicon wafer supply. GLOBALFOUNDRIES chips are used for RF (radio frequency) technologies across multiple applications, including 5G smartphones, aerospace, wireless telecommunications infrastructure and automotive radar. But ensuring sufficient onshore supply has proved challenging, with only 12 percent of the world’s semiconductor production capacity being U.S.-based.
The 300mm wafers made at GWC’s Missouri plant will be used at GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ most advanced manufacturing facilty, Fab 8, in Malta, New York, while the 200mm wafers will be used at its Fab 9 location in Essex Junction, Vermont.
The deal, which includes nearly $210 million in capital expenditures to expand GWC’s MEMC facility in Missouri and is expected to create more than 75 new jobs, is bolstered by $9.4 million in investments and support from the State of Missouri, the City of O’Fallon, Ameren Missouri, Spire and Greater St. Louis Inc.
“Semiconductors are critical to our national security and economic competitiveness,” said U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, an instrumental supporter of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the Senate Act aimed at ensuring domestic production for critical industries that passed this week in Congress with strong bipartisan support. “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 U.S. 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.”
GLOBALFOUNDRIES says it is investing $1.4 billion in 2021 alone–2x its planned investment for the year–to expand production capacity to meet global customer demand for chips, adding to its $15 billion in U.S. semiconductor development capex over the past 12 years. As part of this growth, GF will require an increased supply of wafers like those made by GWC, which is one of the world’s leading makers of 200mm SOI wafers, and a longtime supply partner of GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
“As a trusted semiconductor manufacturer and supplier to the U.S. government, and the world leader in RF semiconductor technology, GF has been leading the charge to accelerate U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and boost our capacity to meet the growing global demand for chips,” said GF 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 U.S. semiconductor manufacturing capacity.”
“We are proud to deepen our strategic partnership with GF, and to expand our important role in the U.S. semiconductor supply chain,” said Doris Hsu, Chairman and CEO of GWC. “We thank the State of Missouri for its support. We also thank our incredible O’Fallon team, whose dedication and hard work have enabled our success and growth. We look forward to ramping up our 300mm pilot line this year and accelerating our build-out with GF.”