News this week about our $7 billion investment in Fab 42 in Arizona is excellent. As the person responsible for managing Intel’s factories, I’d like to offer some context and my thoughts to help explain its importance.
First, let me share some background on Fab 42. It is a factory that we originally started building in 2011, aiming for our 14-nanometer technology. Then, based on a number of manufacturing efficiencies, we were able to defer using Fab 42 because we were able to fit the 14 nm capacity into our existing factory on the Arizona site. Since we deferred Fab 42, we’ve been consistently saying, “Yes, we will need Fab 42 for future space, capacity and for future technologies.” Well, that time has come. So we’re starting to prepare Fab 42 for 7 nanometer.
And, yes, this is a big deal.
In Fab 42, we will be using what we call our “white space.” White space is a clean room area that is already built but does not have any equipment installed. The equipment is generally the most expensive part of building out a fab, and completing Fab 42 represents a large investment from both a capital and a people perspective. It also means the Arizona site will ultimately manufacture 22 nm, 14 nm and our future 7 nm products. It will be a busy place, producing many of our IA microprocessors and supporting IA chips for many years to come.
As some of you who follow Intel’s business may know, our 10 nm product, the first of which is code-named Cannon Lake, will begin shipping in the second half of this year. And now we are talking about getting ready for 7 nm. You might say, “Well, this is early.” However, we always start preparing our factories several years before products becomes available. The timing is right for us to get ready for 7 nm technology in our factories.
I want those who follow our company and our industry to know that completing Fab 42 is a statement of our belief in our ability to continue to progress Moore’s Law. It’s a statement of our belief in our future products and in our manufacturing capability. Moore’s Law is alive and well at Intel.
I am pleased with what we’re doing now at Fab 42. I was the person who made the recommendation several years ago to defer that factory for future use. So today, I’m very happy that our Arizona factory will be supporting 7 nm technology and beyond. One question that may be in many people’s minds is, “So where is Intel’s next factory?” We haven’t made that decision right now, and we won’t be making that decision until next year at the earliest.
Intel factories are very important to me. I’m very proud when they start coming online. I’m very proud of the products that they produce. And I’m especially proud of our employees who keep our factory networking humming and the envy of the technology world.
Ann Kelleher is an Intel vice president and general manager of Technology and Manufacturing Group at Intel Corporation.