TSMC’s first European semiconductor plant is likely to be close to the official announcement. After years of rumors and negotiations, the chip contract manufacturer is said to have finally decided on Dresden as the new location.
At the next meeting of the company’s board of directors, TSMC will finally give the project the green light, writes the Handelsblatt, citing government sources. The official announcement could be made later this week.
The German federal government reportedly wants to support the construction project with a sum of five billion euros. The money is said to come from the Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF), which is managed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs under Robert Habeck. The total costs for the semiconductor plant should amount to more than 10 billion euros. It would be the second largest German semiconductor project after Intel’s Magdeburg complex.
Joint venture with Bosch, Infineon and NXP
According to information from Manager Magazin, TSMC is founding a subsidiary together with the two German companies Bosch and Infineon and NXP from the Netherlands. TSMC is therefore primarily responsible for building the semiconductor plant, but the partners secure a say. Bosch, Infineon and NXP are said to each receive 10 percent of the shares.
TSMC is already taking a similar approach in Japan: the company founded the joint venture Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing (JASM) together with Sony, Toyota and Denso to operate a semiconductor plant there.
Automotive MCUs with 28nm structures
In all likelihood, TSMC in Dresden will initially produce chips with structure widths of 28 nm. Unsurprisingly, TSMC wants to optimize production for automotive chips: It’s primarily about microcontrollers – so-called MCUs – that control electric motors or car batteries, for example. TSMC already manufactures corresponding components with integrated, non-volatile memory, for example in the form of Infineon’s tricores with Cortex-M computing cores, so far only in Asia. With the new project, TSMC is likely to compete directly with Globalfoundries in Dresden, which specializes in special processes for cars, among other things.
If construction starts in the near future, TSMC could start production in 2025 at the earliest. Since the EU Chips Act has been passed as the basis for subsidies worth billions, the process shouldn’t take as long as it did at Intel in Magdeburg.
According to TSMC, it takes about three years from the construction of a new semiconductor plant until production is fully ramped up. Upgrading to a more modern process generation, around 16 nm, would be conceivable in the late 2020s or early 2030s.
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