February 26, 2013
FEATURE STORY: Semiconductor HUBS – Macro Growth from Micro Chips
By: Jenny Vickers
Source: Business Facilities magazine
The semiconductor industry is responsible for producing integrated
circuits or “chips” that have become one of the necessary components for
our world to operate. They act as the brains of every electronic
device—and are literally found everywhere—inside phones, cars, clothes,
computers, home appliances, medical devices, car brakes, weapons, and
more. As nanotechnology has advanced, so have the chips. Companies are
now able to produce wafers with microchip circuits as small as 28
nanometers—which are barely visible to the human eye. However, with an
industry garnering billions of dollars in sales and creating thousands
of new jobs, there is certainly nothing “nano” about it.
U.S. semiconductor sales alone totaled more than $150 billion, and
semiconductors make our trillion dollar electronics industry possible.
But the industry produces more than just financial returns. Jobs in this
industry are in line with the types of employment opportunities that
are sought after: stable, well-paid, semi- and high-skilled labor jobs,
as well as managerial, design and engineering positions. In the U.S.
semiconductor employment is the biggest job growth sector overall with
employment rising nationwide by 3.7 percent to nearly a quarter of a
million workers in 2012.
The semiconductor industry is a highly
competitive global industry with constant pressure on chip makers to
come up with something better and even cheaper than what redefined
state-of-the-art only a few months before. New technologies are being
developed at an unprecedented pace and our highly mobile world is
changing the shape of the semiconductor industry in new ways.
are moving away from a market dominated by PCs and into a new era of
mobility,” said Jessica Kerley, Communications Specialist for
GLOBALFOUNDRIES, one of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers.
“Over the past 10 years, computing has moved from the desktop to the
laptop to the pocket. There are now almost as many cell phone
subscriptions as people in the world. ‘Mobile’ is the watchword in
The industry stretches across almost every
region of the country and into the majority of states from California
and Texas to Florida, Massachusetts and New York. However, there are
several regions which are developing semiconductor “ecosystems” in order
to attract innovation-driven companies and grow the economy. These
areas are not only conducting advanced semiconductor manufacturing,
design and commercialization, bat are training workers for jobs that can
compete on a global scale.
In Upstate NY, GLOBALFOUNDRIES is
investing $6.9 billion to establish a new factory on an abandoned
rocket-testing site in Malta and just this week announced it is building
a new $2 billion technology development center. In Austin, TX, Samsung
is already at work in a $4 billion plant expansion in Austin. In
Chandler, AZ, Intel is investing more than $300 million to build a new
R&D facility. And in Albuquerque, NM, Sandia’s MESA facility is in
the midst of groundbreaking R&D work on semiconductor wafers, while
emerging technology company Skorpios Technologies is helping spearhead
the evolution of the networking industry.
UPSTATE NY’S TECH VALLEY: GLOBAL NANOTECH HUB
semiconductor industry has been a key driver to the revitalization of
upstate New York’s “Tech Valley”—a 19-county region of eastern New York
State that spans from just south of Montreal to just north of New York
City. Over the past decade, this region has seen billions of dollars of
public and private investment, the result of which is the development of
a true technology cluster in upstate New York with significant
semiconductor and nanotechnology assets, including IBM, GE Global
Research, Sematech and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
The region is now a major hub for advanced semiconductor
manufacturing and research, attracting big firms, their vendors and
suppliers, smaller start-ups, new education and research facilities.
Today, more than 1,500 high-tech companies call Tech Valley home.
the region’s potential, Forbes recently predicted that “New York’s Tech
Valley could become the Silicon Valley of Nanotech and even surpass it
in economic importance.
At the heart of this development is the
Global 450 Consortium (G450C), an initiative spearheaded by Gov. Andrew
Cuomo to further position New York to become the nanotech capital of the
world. In September 2011, Gov. Cuomo announced the consortium, a $4.8
billion, first-of-its-kind collaboration housed at the CNSE’s Albany
NanoTech complex. The G450C consists of five leading international
companies that are working to create the next generation of computer
chip technology: IBM, Intel, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, TSMC and Samsung.
unprecedented private investment in New York’s economy will create
thousands of new jobs and make the state the epicenter for the next
generation of computer chip technology,” said Gov. Cuomo.
pledged to invest $3.6 billion towards developing 22-nanometer and
14-nanometer process technology for computer chips. IBM will also work
on a second project with Intel, TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung on
moving existing 300mm (12-inch) wafer manufacturing technology to more
advanced 450mm (18-inch) technology. 450mm wafers yield roughly twice
the number of chips as today’s 300mm wafers, which lowers the cost of
making future chips. The project is expected to create and retain nearly
7,000 jobs across New York, including 2,500 new technology jobs.
support the project, New York State is investing $400 million in CNSE
to expand and house the world’s first G450C, adding nearly 500,000
square feet of next-generation infrastructure, an additional 50,000
square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms, and more than 1,000
scientists, researchers and engineers from CNSE and global corporations.
is the world’s most advanced university-driven research enterprise,
offering students a one-of-a-kind academic experience and providing over
300 corporate partners with access to an unmatched ecosystem for
leading-edge R&D and commercialization of nanoelectronics and
nanotech innovations. CNSE’s foot print spans upstate New York,
including its Albany NanoTech Complex, an 800,000-square-foot, $14
billion state-of the-art megaplex.
“[CNSE] houses the most
advanced clean rooms, tools and equipment, as well as next generation
tools that are still several years from making it out into industry,”
said Steve Janack, CNSE vice president for marketing and communications.
“It is a unique environment unlike any place in the world. You have the
world’s leading tech companies doing next generation innovation R&D
and commercialization work here on site and doing so in an environment
that allows them to mitigate the costs and accelerate their research by
pooling their money.”
According to Janack, public and private
investments are being leveraged to drive high tech growth opportunities
across Upstate New York, including Utica, Rochester, Syracuse, and other
areas. In Utica, CNSE has partnered with SUNYIT to build a facility
known as Quad C (Computer Chip Commercialization Center) where companies
can develop system-on-a-chip technologies. In the Rochester area,
CNSE’s Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center (STC) offers
state-of-the-art capabilities for MEMS fabrication and packaging.
you are a company that needs to be at the cutting edge, you are looking
for opportunities to innovate while reigning in costs and to do so in
an environment that allows you to accelerate your innovation at a rate
where you can beat the competition,” said Janack. “What we are seeing is
that increasingly the location of choice for the semiconductor industry
to do R&D, commercialization, and advanced manufacturing is New
There’s no question that New York is at the forefront of a
nanotechnology revolution. Just last week, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, which is now
the second largest computer chip foundry in the world, announced they
are going to build a $2 billion Technology Development Center (TDC) to
complement their existing computer chip fab in Malta, creating 1,000 new
The TDC will include 90,000 square feet of flexible
cleanroom space that will house a variety of semiconductor development
and manufacturing areas to support the transition to new technology
nodes. Construction of the TDC is planned to begin in early 2013 with
completion targeted for late 2014.
Fab 8 is the most advanced
semiconductor foundry campus in the world. Since breaking ground on Fab 8
in 2009, the project has created approximately 2,000 new direct jobs,
9,000 new indirect jobs, and more than 10,000 new construction jobs. The
company has been making significant investments in technology
development at Fab 8 and today development is underway at the 20nm and
14nm technology nodes. When fully ramped, the total clean-room space
will be approximately 300,000 square feet, roughly equivalent to six
football fields of state-of-the-art semiconductor wafer manufacturing
space, and will be capable of a total output of approximately 60,000
wafers per month.
“The TDC is expected to play a key role in the
company’s strategy to develop innovative semiconductor solutions
allowing customers to compete at the leading edge of technology,” said
Jessica Kerley, Communications Specialist for GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
to Kerley there were many important reasons that drove GLOBALFOUNDRIES
decision to build Fab 8 in upstate NY, but the three primary
considerations involve education, ecosystem and economics.
York’s investment in the semiconductor industry, including the
incentives and tax credits for the Fab 8 project, represents a long-term
economic development strategy that is working,” said Kerley. “The State
of New York expects to see a return of $2.54 for every $1.00 spent on
the Fab 8 project, and the State’s innovative approach to public-private
partnerships is reshaping upstate NY’s Tech Valley.”