Bosch invests further billions in chip business
Bosch announces an investment of three billion euros in its semiconductor business by 2026 as part of the IPCEI on Microelectronics and Communications Technology.
One of the projects Bosch plans to fund with this investment is the construction of two new development centers – in Reutlingen and Dresden – at a combined cost of over 170 million euros In addition, the company will spend 250 million euros over the coming year on the creation of an extra 3,000 square meters of clean-room space at its wafer fab in Dresden, a press release reads.
Within the framework of the European Chips Act, the European Union and German federal government are providing additional funding to develop a robust ecosystem for the European microelectronics industry.
The objective is to double Europe’s slice of global semiconductor production from 10 to 20 percent by the end of the decade. The newly launched IPCEI on Microelectronics and Communication Technology is intended primarily to promote research and innovation.
Europe can and must capitalize on its own strengths in the semiconductor industry. More than ever, the goal must be to produce chips for the specific needs of European industry. And that means not only chips at the bottom end of the nanoscale. Electronic components used in the electromobility industry, for example, require process sizes of between 40 and 200 nanometers. This is exactly what the Bosch wafer fabs are designed for, says Dr. Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch board of management, in the press release.
New fields of innovation at Bosch include systems-on-a-chip, such as the radar sensors a vehicle uses to perform 360 degree scans of its surroundings during automated driving. Bosch will now be looking to enhance such components, making them smaller, smarter, and also cheaper to produce.
The company is also working to further modify its own microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) specifically for the consumer goods industry. One of the things company researchers are currently using this technology to develop is a new projection module that is so tiny it can be built into the temple of a pair of smartglasses.
In order to cement our leading market position in MEMS technology, we also plan to manufacture our MEMS sensors on 300-millimeter wafers, Hartung said in the press release. Production is scheduled to start in 2026. Our new wafer fab gives us the opportunity to scale production – an advantage we intend to exploit to the full.
Bosch is also building a new test center for semiconductors in Penang, Malaysia. As of 2023, this center will be used to test finished semiconductor chips and sensors.