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Electronics Production | April 08, 2008

Bosch semiconductor production to start in 09

The expansion of the Bosch semiconductor manufacturing facility in Reutlingen, Germany, is progressing as planned and production will start in mid-2009.
"The topping-out ceremony marks an important milestone," said Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the Bosch board of management. Bosch is investing a total of approximately 600 million euros in the building of a new semiconductor manufacturing facility and a new test center in Reutlingen, Germany. The construction work itself will cost approximately 200 million euros. A further 400 million euros will be invested in the technical equipment.

The new plant would have a daily capacity of up to 1,000 silicon wafers. That is the equivalent of up to one million microchips. The start of production is scheduled for mid-2009. The function of the wafers and components will be tested at the new test center, which is currently also under construction.

The semiconductor and micro-mechanical chips from Reutlingen are primarily used in the automotive industry. As components in control units, they are the "central nervous system" for a large number of functions in vehicles. These include electronic safety systems such as ABS, ESP, or airbags, economical and clean engines with electronic engine management, or modern driver assistance systems.

"The meaning of our slogan 'Invented for life' is especially clear here," said Fehrenbach. He pointed out that it was the process developed in Reutlingen – known as the "Bosch process" – that made mass production of chips for airbags, ESP, or ABS possible in the first place. In recognition of this, Andrea Urban and Franz Lärmer were named "Inventors of the Year in 2007" by the EU Commission and the European Patent Office. Today, mid-size and luxury-class cars contain an average of 100 to 200 microchips.

In total, approximately 800 jobs will be created in the new semiconductor manufacturing facility by 2012. Many associates will transfer from the nearby Rommelsbach plant to Reutlingen, as this manufacturing site will be closed in a few years due to a customer opting for a different technology. "These associates do an outstanding job. We want their commitment to Bosch to continue, and we want the work they do to remain in demand," said Fehrenbach.

Reutlingen is the headquarters of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division and its most important engineering and manufacturing location for a large number of electronic components. In the company's worldwide manufacturing network, the location is extremely important as a pilot plant for innovative products such as driver assistance systems. In total, Bosch employs a workforce of some 7,000 at three locations in Reutlingen, 240 of them as technical/industrial and commercial apprentices.
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