GlobalFoundries has a couple of interesting news bits for us today as SEMICON West starts up in California this week.  First up was a call from GF to drive development on the existing 300mm wafer technology rather than hastily move to 450mm wafers as many in the industry are calling for.

In our view, the rush to 450mm manufacturing suggests a lack of ideas for improving fab productivity. At GLOBALFOUNDRIES, we see a tremendous amount of headroom left in the 300mm process. We are tapping our expertise in lean manufacturing to extend the lifecycle of the industry’s current 300mm investments, and we are investing more than $4 billion in a new, state-of-the-art 300mm fab in upstate New York because we are confident in our ability to get the most out of this technology generation.



At SEMICON West 2009, Sonderman is calling for a renewed focus on operational agility in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, particularly in light of increased pressure to move to processes based on 450 millimeter (mm) wafers.

“The rush to 450mm suggests a lack of ideas for improving fab productivity,” Sonderman said. “At GLOBALFOUNDRIES, we see a tremendous amount of headroom left in the 300mm process. We are tapping our expertise in lean manufacturing to extend the lifecycle of the industry’s current 300mm investments, and we are investing more than $4 billion in a new, state-of-the-art 300mm fab in upstate New York because we are confident in our ability to get the most out of this technology generation.”

Another interesting note comes from the blog of the company’s CorpComm director, Jon Carvill.  In the post he refers to a fully functioning Fab 2 (ground breaking is very soon we are told) up and producing 28nm wafers by the 2H of 2012.  Apparently the company will quickly move from that to 22nm however, though it is simply easier to get the facility functioning at 100% with a process they will already be familiar with (as 28nm will be running at Fab 1). 

GlobalFoundries teases with customer announcements pending - Processors  1
First image of a 28nm SRAM bulk test wafer from GlobalFoundries.

The second interesting piece here is more of a tease: apparently the first customer announcements are coming very soon:

Our customer acquisition activities also continue at a fevered pace and we have and will continue to engage with the world’s biggest fabless and fablite semiconductor companies and I am pleased to say that there’s tremendous interest in GLOBALFOUNDRIES. So much so, that we expect to be able to make some new announcements in this area imminently with the goal to have multiple foundry customers on board by the end of 2009.

From what I am told, these should NOT be companies signing on that we have never heard of – expect to see some pretty big names popping up soon.