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ST brings Tower Semi on board for fab being built in Italy
STMicroelectronics and Tower Semiconductor have entered into an agreement in which ST will welcome Tower to its Agrate R3 300mm fab under construction on its Agrate Brianza site in Italy.
ST and Tower will join forces for an accelerated fab ramp-up, a key factor to reach a high utilisation level and therefore a competitive wafer cost. ST will share the cleanroom in R3, 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, a press release reads. To implement this project, Tower will establish a wholly-owned Italian subsidiary. ST and Tower will share the clean room space and the facility infrastructure. 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 continue to be managed by ST, with select Tower personnel seconded to ST in specific roles to support fab qualification and volume ramp-up, as well as other engineering and process roles. In the early stage 130, 90 and 65nm processes for smart power, analog mixed signal and RF processes will be qualified in R3. The products in these technologies will be notably used in automotive, industrial and personal electronics applications. “The key parameter for industrial and economic performance of a fab is its utilization. With Tower we have a great partner for analog, power and mixed-signal volume manufacturing that will enable us to qualify and ramp up the Agrate R3 300mm fab significantly faster. This will enable an optimal utilization of the fab almost right from the early stage of production. The capacity of the full build-out state of the fab could even be increased compared to the original capacity estimate of 2018, when we started the project”, says Jean-Marc Chery, President and CEO of STMicroelectronics in a press release. He continues to state that the products manufactured in Agrate R3 will support the automotive, industrial and personal electronics markets. “Tower’s strong execution in advanced 65nm, 300mm based analog RF, power platforms, displays and other technologies, will be significantly enhanced by this activity in Agrate; more than tripling Tower’s 300mm foundry capacity to well service our customers’ increasing demand within these fast-growing markets,” adds Tower CEO, Russell Ellwanger.