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Tower joins ST's Agrate R3 300mm fab

STMicroelectronics has invited Tower Semiconductor, the high-value analogue semiconductor foundry, to join its Agrate R3 300mm fab under construction on its Agrate Brianza site in Italy.

Under the terms of the agreement ST and Tower will join forces for an accelerated fab ramp-up, a key factor in reaching a high utilisation level and delivering more competitive wafer costs. 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 is expected to start production in the second half of 2022.

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, analogue mixed signal and RF processes will be qualified in R3. The products in these technologies will be used in automotive, industrial and personal electronics applications.

“The key parameter for industrial and economic performance of a fab is its utilisation. With Tower we have a great partner that will enable us to qualify and ramp up the Agrate R3 300mm fab significantly faster. This will enable an optimal utilisation 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”, said Jean-Marc Chery, President and CEO of STMicroelectronics. “The products manufactured in Agrate R3 will support the automotive, industrial and personal electronics markets. They will contribute to ease the supply tensions in a wide range of applications in the mid to longer term.”

To implement this project, Tower will establish a wholly-owned Italian subsidiary.

Neil Tyler

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