Intel To Invest $20B To Start Factory ‘Mega-Site’ In Ohio

Intel said it will invest an initial $20 billion into a “mega-site” for chip factories in Ohio that will eventually become “one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing sites in the world.”

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker announced the new manufacturing expansion Friday, saying that it plans to put more than $20 billion into two “leading-edge” chip factories, also known as fabs, which will begin construction in Licking County, Ohio, in late 2022. The factories, which are expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs, are slated for completion in 2025. 

The move means that Intel will have significantly greater manufacturing capacity in United States, which only represents 12 percent of global semiconductor manufacturing. Combined with the $20 billion Intel is spending to build two new fabs in Arizona, the investments are meant in part to lower the tech industry’s dependence on factories in Asia, which represents 70 percent of chip manufacturing. 

“Today’s investment marks another significant way Intel is leading the effort to restore U.S. semiconductor manufacturing leadership,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s CEO, in a statement. “Intel’s actions will help build a more resilient supply chain and ensure reliable access to advanced semiconductors for years to come.” 

Intel said the two fabs will be part of a nearly 1,000-acre site, located just outside of Columbus, Ohio, that can support up to eight fabs total. The company said it may spend as much as $100 billion over the next decade to build out the full campus. 

The new site will attract, out of necessity, dozens of ecosystem partners and supplies that will build their own presence in the area. This includes Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean Technology, which Intel said have already pledged to build a physical presence in the region. 

The two new fabs will represent two key aspects of Intel’s IDM 2.0 strategy, an evolution of its integrated device manufacturing model, by manufacturing chips designed by Intel as well as those designed by other companies, which will be serviced through the new Intel Foundry Services business. 

Randhir Thakur, senior vice president and president of Intel Foundry Services, said the new fabs in Ohio will be designed for “Intel’s most advanced process technologies,” which includes the Intel 18A node that the company has previously said would return it to “process performance leadership” in 2025. 

“The Ohio factories are designed for the ‘Angstrom era,’ with support for Intel’s most advanced process technologies, including Intel 18A,” he said in a statement. “These technologies are critical for enabling next-generation foundry customer products across a range of applications, from high-performance mobile to artificial intelligence.”

As part of its investment in the area, Intel said it plans to spend roughly $100 million over the next decade to “help develop and attract a pipeline of skilled talent from within the region.” The company will spend this money on a range of activities with Ohio universities, community colleges and the U.S. National Science Foundation, including collaborative research projects and semiconductor-specific curricula for associate and undergraduate degree programs.

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