Germany know-how and components provider Robert Bosch opened a €1 billion ($1.2 billion) chip manufacturing facility in Dresden, Germany on Monday, the only largest funding within the firm’s historical past. The plant, which can primarily provide automotive clients, is a serious sign that related and electrical autos are right here to remain.
“No matter which powertrain we discuss … all the time we want a semiconductor and sensor,” Bosch’s govt vice chairman of automotive electronics Jens Fabrowsky instructed TechCrunch.
The plant will deal with front-of-the-line processing, or wafer fabrication, within the semiconductor manufacturing course of. The 300-millimeter wafers shall be despatched to companions, sometimes in Asia, to do packaging and meeting of the semiconductors.
300 millimeters is a “new discipline of know-how,” Fabrowsky defined. Versus the 150- or 200-millimeter wafers which can be produced at Bosch’s close by manufacturing facility in Reutlingen, Germany, the bigger wafer dimension gives better economies of scale as a result of you possibly can 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 totally related and data-driven system that’s distinctive to the ability. Bosch is not going to solely have real-time knowledge on the roughly 100 machines, but additionally on the facility, water and different features of the ability — as much as 500 pages of knowledge per second, Fabrowsky mentioned. The AI-driven algorithm ought to detect an anomaly from any of the related sensors instantly.
Regardless of its excessive ranges of automation, the plant will make use of round 700 individuals as soon as it’s totally operational.
It’s unclear whether or not the plant will assist resolve the continued international semiconductor scarcity, which has pressured automakers like Common Motors and Ford to slash manufacturing volumes and briefly shutter manufacturing services.
“On the level after we determined [to build the plant] it was purely pushed by know-how,” Fabrowsky mentioned. “It was clear we wanted to enter 300 [millimeters], and we wanted to put money into 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 typically 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 below 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 instructed TechCrunch.