GlobalFoundries to build $2B R&D center
Facility expected to add another 1,000 jobs
Updated 10:21 p.m.
MALTA GlobalFoundries will build a $2 billion research and development center at Fab 8, creating an additional 1,000 jobs, company and state officials said Tuesday.
The planned Technology Development Center will be the main global R&D center for GlobalFoundries, which has manufacturing facilities in Germany and Singapore, as well as in Malta.
Plans for the cutting-edge research center were announced late last summer, but the company wasn’t committed to proceed until it made Tuesday’s announcement.
With the new R&D center, employment at the Fab 8 complex is expected to hit 3,000 by the end of 2014. The complex currently has about 2,000 permanent jobs, in addition to supporting hundreds of construction jobs.
The new jobs break down to at least 500 at the technology center, with another 500 jobs created at the manufacturing building or in administration, state officials said.
The center will include an additional 90,000 square feet of cleanroom and laboratory space for development of new semiconductor technologies.
The center, with more than 500,000 square feet of total space, will be located east of the Fab 8 factory building, behind the Admin 2 administration building. Utility work for the new center has already started.
The $2 billion investment will bring GlobalFoundries’ total spending at Fab 8 to close to $9 billion since initial construction started in 2009.
Located on a 223-acre site on the Luther Forest Technology Campus, Fab 8’s manufacturing building is currently entering commercial computer chip production. Construction on the research center will begin early this year, company officials said, with completion targeted for late 2014.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo praised the announcement from the Silicon Valley-based company, which is owned by an Abu Dhabi government investment fund. The company was created in 2009 when Advanced Micro Devices sold its manufacturing facilities, including the Malta site, where construction hadn’t yet started.
“This significant expansion demonstrates that the investments we have made in nanotechnology research across New York state are producing the intended return — the creation of high-paying jobs and generation of economic growth that is essential to rebuilding our state,” Cuomo said in a news release.
The original plans for a semiconductor factory on the Luther Forest Technology Campus received nearly $1.4 billion in state incentives, offered in 2006 as an enticement to locate in New York. There is no new state incentive money for the R&D center, Cuomo’s office said.
The plans for the technology center aren’t new. The town of Malta received the plans for review last summer, and the town Planning Board approved a site plan in October. But company officials told the town they didn’t know when the plans would proceed.
The center will house semiconductor development and manufacturing spaces to support research on new technologies, as the size of semiconductor circuits continues to shrink. Researchers at Fab 8 have developed 20-nanometer and 14-nm chips for mobile devices, the smallest chips yet.
“The new TDC will help us bridge between the lab and the fab by taking research conducted with partners and further developing the technologies to make them ready for volume manufacturing,” GlobalFoundries CEO Ajit Manocha said.
GlobalFoundries was recently identified as the fastest-growing semiconductor company in the world and the second-largest foundry company. Foundries make computer chips to order for companies that don’t have their own manufacturing or want to increase production without building new factories of their own.
In a separate announcement, company officials announced just three weeks ago that they would proceed with plans to add another 90,000 square feet of cleanroom manufacturing space to the 210,000 square feet of existing cleanroom space at Fab 8.
GlobalFoundries officials said the proximity of the IBM Joint Development Alliance in East Fishkill and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of Albany were factors in the company’s decision to do more research and development here. GlobalFoundries is a research partner in both facilities.
“New York state’s continued support of the semiconductor industry has created a strong collaborative ecosystem and helped pave the way for this additional investment,” Manocha said.
Cuomo said the announcement shows that the state’s investments in technology research are paying off.
“New York has become the world’s hub for advanced semiconductor research and now, the Technology Development Center will further help ensure the innovations developed in New York, in collaboration with our research institutions, are manufactured in New York,” Cuomo said.
The announcement is also good news for CNSE, where the state and private partners have invested billions, including building a $4.4 billion center to develop a 450-mm silicon wafer — a more efficient wafer for manufacturing than the 300-mm wafers computer chips are now made from. GlobalFoundries is among the private partners in that research, along with other industry leaders.
“The expansion of GlobalFoundries’ advanced technology and manufacturing capabilities, supported by new investments and location of new high-tech research and development jobs at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, will fuel exciting opportunities for both residents and businesses across New York State,” CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Alain Kaloyeros said.