Peter Clarke, EE Times(05/11/2006 8:51 AM EDT) MUNICH, Germany
— Foundry chip maker Tower Semiconductor Ltd. is looking to raise money to invest in equipment for Fab 2, its 200-mm wafer fab and is considering its strategy for 90-nm production.
Tower (Migdal Haemek, Israel) needs to spend between about $100 million and $150 million to bring in semiconductor production equipment to get it to breakeven, according to Rafi Nave, chief technology officer of Tower. Nave was attending the International Semiconductor Executives Forum organized by the Fabless Semiocnductor Association and the Institution of Engineering and Technology, here.
The fab is currently capable of about 15,000 wafer starts per month but is getting close to running at full capacity, Nave told EE Times. “25,000 wafer starts per month is breakeven,” Nave said. He added that with Tower’s current configuration of equipment each 1000 wafer starts per month requires spending of between $9 million and $18 million depending on the mix of second-hand or new equipment.
Fab 2 is mainly producing 0.18-micron CMOS circuits but the company is starting 0.13-micron processing next month with a prototype for a key customer, Nave said. Moving to 0.13-micron and the higher price that the technology can command should also help Tower get into the black.
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