GloFo chip plant growth projected
Huge R&D center plans before town
MALTA GlobalFoundries is weighing plans to add the second of three manufacturing centers originally envisioned on its sprawling 223-acre campus at the Luther Forest Technology Park.
Company spokesman Travis Bullard said GlobalFoundries has presented plans to the town of Malta for a three-story, 557,000-square-foot research and development center where semiconductor chips would be designed. Dubbed the Technology Development Center, the new facility would include 90,000 square feet of clean room space and about 108,000 feet of clean space to house a variety of semiconductor manufacturing activities.
“The Technology Development Center would essentially be the second manufacturing building on our campus,” he said Wednesday. “It’s a pretty significant sized building.”
A site plan amendment providing for the new structure is expected to be reviewed by members of Malta’s Planning Board in mid-October. Initial documentation submitted to the town Monday also indicates the company is proposing to add a second electrical services building.
“It fits like a hand to a glove behind the administration 2 building,” Malta Building and Planning Coordinator Anthony Tozzi said of the plans.
Plans for the center come less than two months after GlobalFoundries announced it would expand the manufacturing clean room at its Fab 8 computer chip plant to 300,000 square feet. The company is investing an additional $2.3 billion in an advanced computer chip fabrication plant, bringing its total investment to $6.9 billion.
The expansion announced in July is expected to bring up to 300 more permanent jobs by its completion in late 2013. About 1,600 people now work at the plant.
Fab 8 broke ground in July 2009 after the state promised nearly $1.4 billion in cash and tax credits as incentives. The company initially envisioned a $4.2 billion plant with 1,200 employees.
GlobalFoundries already has more than 2 million square feet of space. The 90,000-square-foot expansion of the existing 210,000-square-foot clean room space expected to get under way this week will make it one of the largest such facilities in the world.
The plans pitched this week are the third significant amendment to the company’s site plan, following construction of the first fabrication element and the administrative headquarters. Tozzi said the company’s plans originally included Fab 8 and two smaller manufacturing buildings, but GlobalFoundries is constantly adapting.
“What Global is always doing is they’re always keeping a keen eye on the market and what their customers need,” he said.
Bullard said any decisions on building out the proposal will be driven by factors such as local site plan approval, the availability of regional infrastructure, market demand and global business conditions. He stressed the plans are in the preliminary stages and didn’t have an estimate for what GlobalFoundries would invest in constructing the new building if it decides to go ahead.
“We just started the site plan process and we just started some of the initial design work for the building,” he said.
The California-based company has plants in Singapore and Germany, but Malta is its only manufacturing facility in the United States. It’s ranked second among chip foundry companies in the world, trailing only Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
The site plans come as GlobalFoundries continues to work closely with the College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering in Albany to develop innovations. Early-stage research at Albany and done jointly with IBM at its downstate facility has helped Global Foundries production facility flourish in Malta.
“The best way to think about it is from the lab to the fab,” Bullard said.
Last week, GlobalFoundries announced the launch of a new technology designed to deliver a vast improvement in battery life and performance for mobile devices. Tests on the new semiconductor are under way at Fab 8
“It’s leading-edge technology,” he said. “It’s really the most advanced semiconductor technology that’s available.”