Bosch is to build a wafer fab in Dresden, to satisfy the demand generated by the growing number of internet of things (IoT) and mobility applications.
The new facility will manufacture the chips from 12-inch wafers and construction of the hi-tech plant is to be completed by the end of 2019. Total investment in the location will come to roughly €1 billion.
“The new wafer fab is the biggest single investment in Bosch’s more than 130-year history,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch.
Bosch has been making semiconductor chips in multiple variants, for more than 45 years, mostly as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), power semiconductors, and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).
“Semiconductors are the core components of all electronic systems. With connectivity and automation growing, they are being used in more and more areas of application. By extending our semiconductor manufacturing capacity, we are giving ourselves a sound basis for the future and strengthening our competitiveness,” Denner said.
According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global semiconductor market is set to grow by more than 5% annually up to 2019, with the mobility and IoT market segments growing particularly strongly.
The process of manufacturing semiconductor chips always starts with a silicon disc, known as a wafer. The bigger their diameter, the more chips that can be made per manufacturing cycle. Compared with conventional 6- and 8-inch wafer fabs, 12-inch wafer technology offers economies of scale.
Subject to the approval of the European Commission, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) plans to support the construction and commissioning of the new wafer fab in Dresden.
“As an industrial location, the state of Saxony offers excellent conditions for enhancing our semiconductor expertise,” said Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch.
Dresden’s microelectronics cluster, also known as “Silicon Saxony,” includes automotive suppliers and service providers, as well as universities offering technological expertise. In addition, the Digital Hub Initiative launched by the BMWi aims to make Dresden an IoT ecosystem.