above: ST R3 300mm fab in Agrate Brianza, Italy. Source: IAA-NGO
STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) and Tower Semiconductor (Migdal Haemek, Israel) have announced an agreement to operate together the ST’s R3 300mm fab under construction on its Agrate Brianza site in Italy. Both companies will accelerate the ramp-up of the fab. ST and Tower will share the clean room space and the facility infrastructure, with Tower installing its own equipment in one third of the total space.
The fab is expected to be ready for equipment installation later this year and start production in the second half of 2022. Both companies will invest in their respective process equipment and work together on the acceleration of the fab qualification and subsequent ramp-up. Operations will be managed by ST, with select Tower personnel seconded to ST in specific roles to support fab’s qualification, volume ramp-up and other engineering roles. In the early stage 130, 90 and 65nm processes for smart power, analog mixed signal and RF processes will be qualified in R3.
“This will enable an optimal utilization of the fab almost right from the early stage of production”, said Jean-Marc Chéry, President and CEO of STMicroelectronics. “The products manufactured in Agrate R3 will support the automotive, industrial and personal electronics markets. They will contribute to ease the supply tensions in a wide range of applications in the mid to longer term.” Tower CEO, Russell Ellwanger, said that the agreement “will more than tripling Tower’s 300mm foundry capacity.”
To implement this project, Tower will establish a wholly-owned Italian subsidiary. Tower Semiconductor provides foundry services based on customizable process platforms such as SiGe, BiCMOS, mixed-signal/CMOS, RF CMOS, CMOS image sensor, non-imaging sensors, integrated power management (BCD and 700V), and MEMS. It operates two manufacturing facilities in Israel (150mm and 200mm), two in the U.S. (200mm) and three facilities in Japan (two 200mm and one 300mm) through TPSCo. Tower’s revenues for the full year 2020 totaled $1.266 billion.