ams breaks ground on NY wafer fab

ams AG (SIX: AMS) today took a step forward in its long-term strategy of increasing manufacturing capacity for its high-performance sensors and sensor solution integrated circuits (ICs), holding a groundbreaking event at the site of its new wafer fabrication plant in Utica, New York.

An artist’s rendering of a semiconductor fab at the Marcy site.

The ceremony featured New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, local dignitaries and senior executives from ams and SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

ams sensor solutions are relied upon globally by manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and other communications devices, automakers, audio and medical equipment manufacturers and others. ams sensors are used in hundreds of millions of devices to recognize light, color, gestures, images, motion, position, environmental and medical parameters and more.

With construction work now underway on the new fab, ams remains on track to reach its target for the first batches of wafers made at the plant in the first half of 2018.

Production capacity at the Utica fab will supplement ams’ existing 180nm and 350nm CMOS and SiGe fab at its headquarters near Graz, Austria. Adding this additional volume to its in-house chip manufacturing facilities positions ams to meet the forecasted growth in demand for its high-performance sensor solution ICs.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made public-private partnerships an important part of this  Nano Utica initiative, which exceeds 4,000 projected jobs over the next decade. Designed to replicate the dramatic success of SUNY Poly’s Nanotech Megaplex in Albany, NANO Utica further cements New York’s international recognition as the preeminent hub for 21st century nanotechnology innovation, education, and economic development.

The Governor says the addition of ams and others to Nano Utica is creating an economic revolution around nano-technology in the Mohawk Valley region, and that the economy there is “gathering momentum unlike ever before.”

The new fab, which is being built to ams’s specifications and which ams will operate under a 20-year lease, is expected initially to offer capacity of at least 150,000 200mm-wafer equivalents per year. Planned expansion thereafter will eventually see the plant operating at a capacity of more than 450,000 200mm-wafer equivalents per year.

The new fab is located close to a campus of SUNY Polytechnic Institute in New York’s Tech Valley, the largest region focused on technology manufacturing in the US and home to other nanotechnology and semiconductor companies. The fab will be capable of producing wafers at the 130nm node, and more advanced nodes in the future.

Today’s celebratory event at the new fab site also marked the success of the partnership behind the project to build, equip and operate another high-technology manufacturing facility in the State of New York. This partnership has benefited from a wide-ranging collaboration between public sector bodies such as the New York governor’s office, the City of Utica and the State University of New York, and various private sector institutions including ams, the fab’s sole leaseholder.

Approximately 250 people gathered at the construction site to see Lt. Governor Hochul and ams CEO Alexander Everke break ground for the foundation of what will be, on completion in 2018, one of the world’s largest analog wafer fabs.

“Building this new wafer fab enables ams to achieve its plans for growth and to meet the increasing demand for sensor solutions produced at advanced manufacturing nodes. Our decision to locate the facility in New York was motivated by the availability of a highly skilled workforce, the proximity to prestigious educational and research institutions, and the favorable business environment, backed by public and private partners,” Mr. Everke said. “What we will create together in Utica will be the most productive ‘More than Moore’ fab worldwide,” he added.


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