Tower Semiconductor and Intel Foundry Services (IFS) announced a deal today in which Intel would provide foundry services and 300mm manufacturing capability to assist Tower in serving its customers globally. Tower will use Intel’s advanced manufacturing facilities in New Mexico under the terms of the arrangement.
Tower will invest up to $300 million in the acquisition and ownership of equipment and other fixed assets to be installed in the New Mexico facility, creating a new capacity corridor of over 600,000 photo layers per month for Tower’s future growth and enabling capacity to support forecasted customer demand for 300mm advanced analogue processing.
Tower’s highly distinctive 65-nanometer power management BCD (bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) flows, among others, will be manufactured at Intel’s Fab 11X in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Stuart Pann, Intel senior vice president and general manager of Intel Foundry Services, said Intel Foundry Services was launched with the long-term goal of delivering the world’s first open system foundry that combines a secure, sustainable, and resilient supply chain with the best of Intel and its ecosystem.
This deal demonstrates IFS’s access to manufacturing capacity corridors across Intel’s global factory network, including in the United States, Europe, Israel, and Asia. Intel has been investing and inventing in the Southwest region of the United States for more than 40 years, with sites in Arizona and New Mexico, in addition to existing investments in Oregon and planned investments in Ohio. Intel earlier announced a $3.5 billion investment in New Mexico to expand operations and equip its Rio Rancho site, one of its innovation hubs, for advanced semiconductor packaging manufacture.
Tower CEO Russell Ellwanger said that this collaboration with Intel enables the company to meet its clients’ demand roadmaps, emphasising enhanced power management and radio frequency silicon on insulator (RF SOI) solutions, with full process flow qualification scheduled for 2024. He went on to say that this is the first step towards several unique synergistic solutions with Intel.
This is the next stage on Tower’s path to greater scale, as it serves an expanding customer base in 300mm technologies, fueled by strong market adoption of its industry-leading 65nm BCD power and RF SOI technologies. Tower’s 65nm BCD technology, in particular, provides customers with increased power efficiency, die size, and die cost due to its best-in-class Rdson figure of merit. Similarly, Tower’s 65nm RF SOI technology, with its best-in-class RonCoff figure of merit, assists clients in reducing handset battery usage while boosting wireless communications. This agreement’s enhanced scale will enable Tower to serve greater prospects with existing technologies and strengthen alliances with industry-leading customers, allowing it to develop next-generation solid technological roadmaps.
IFS is a critical component of Intel’s IDM 2.0 strategy, and today’s announcement signals another step forward in Intel’s multiyear transformation to reclaim and strengthen technological leadership, manufacturing scale, and long-term growth. IFS has achieved considerable progress in the last year, as evidenced by a more than 300% year-over-year revenue rise in the second quarter of 2023. Intel’s recent deal with Synopsys to establish a portfolio of intellectual property on the Intel 3 and Intel 18A process nodes exemplifies this trend. In addition, Intel was granted the US Department of Defense’s Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes – Commercial (RAMP-C) programme, with five RAMP-C customers engaged in design engagement on Intel 18A.