Executive Perspective: 22FDX: Ramping New Silicon in Old Saxony

Our 300mm Fab 1 is in Dresden, in the region of Germany known as Saxony, or sometimes Old Saxony. It is quite a beautiful and tranquil area but don’t be fooled. Years ago Saxony was Germany’s leading industrial area, and more recently it is again achieving industrial prominence. GLOBALFOUNDRIES is one of the reasons why. Dresden is where we are ramping 22FDX®, our 22nm FD-SOI process, into volume production this year. 22FDX gives customers an exceptional balance of performance, power consumption and cost, making it ideal for mobile, automotive and IoT applications. I’ve been managing Fab 1 in Dresden since 2011 and the differences from then to now can hardly be overstated. When I got here our production capabilities, technical resources and mode of operation didn’t match our ambition. Today, Fab 1 is quite simply one of the best fabs in the entire world, and we have a superb staff of technical people, managers and operating personnel who are aligned on achieving world-class operational metrics and customer satisfaction.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Fab 1, in Dresden is Europe’s Largest 300mm Factory

This evolution has been driven by investment, by more efficient use of technology and by great execution. We have invested more than $12 billion in Fab 1 to date, giving us the capacity to ship 60,000 wafers per month. This quarter, Dresden shipped its one millionth wafer to a top-tier mobile customer. That is an outstanding achievement. Overall, we have shipped 2.8 million wafers from Fab 1 since 2010, the majority of which were fabricated with our advanced HKMG technology. We’ve been offering that technology longer than any other pure-play foundry. We are currently making further investments to grow production capacity by another 40% by 2020. Much of this investment is to support volume production of 22FDX, along with the next-generation 12FDX™ technology now under development. Customer tape-outs from the 12FDX process are expected by the  end of 2018. Our efficient use of technology is a great advantage when it comes to volume FDX™ production. More than 70% of the FDX process steps are copied from our already well-established 28nm HKMG process flow, making it easier, faster and less risky to achieve commercial production. Being a foundry, we understand that we have one more key item on our daily agenda (besides shipping wafers on time and in spec, as well as developing tomorrow’s technologies): enhance productivity while reducing cost. That is now part of our site DNA, and I am proud that in a site-wide effort we were able to take out $100 million (USD) cost in 2016 alone.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES: Clean room techs walk the bridge in Fab 1

With regard to execution, over the last five years we have placed a great focus on establishing the necessary systems, business processes and mindset to complement our state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. We have learned how to better control risk and costs while making process changes, which is critical to managing the ever-increasing complexity that comes with more customers, more products, and new processes such as FDX. It’s been an exciting journey, and the best is yet to come.