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Microchip group TSMC opens factory in Japan as a model for Dresden

The Taiwanese microchip manufacturer TSMC has officially opened its factory in Japan. What will become the model for the planned chip factory in Dresden.
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Man sieht die Mikrochipfabrik TSMC in Japan
This is what the new microchip factory of the Taiwanese company TSMC in Japan looks like. It will run solely on renewable energy. TSMC

By Georg Moeritz

Dresden. One woman and 15 men side by side, all wearing white gloves and holding a pair of scissors: Taiwanese microchip company TSMC celebrated the opening of its latest factory in Kumamoto, Japan. The building is partly a model for the Dresden chip factory, which is due to start production in 2027 alongside its partner Bosch's plant.

The Japanese microchip factory is to use exclusively renewable energy as soon as production begins there at the end of this year. This is the goal for all TSMC factories overseas, the Taiwanese company announced. The factory owners also emphasized that they want to use water as sparingly as possible - huge quantities of water are needed in every semiconductor factory.

The planned water consumption for the Japanese factory has been reduced by 30 percent, according to the press material for the opening. Originally, 13,000 tons of water consumption per day had been planned, but the Group now expects 8,500 tons. The Japanese factory will mainly use groundwater, but will feed back more than the amount of groundwater extracted. The company is aware of the importance of groundwater in Kumamoto. A new river waterworks is planned in Dresden, will tap the water from the Elbe.

TSMC acquires stakes in several groups in Japan and Dresden

In Japan, as in Dresden, TSMC has sought out partner companies to help finance the billion-euro projects. This is why the plants are not called TSMC. The factory in Japan will be called Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing (JASM). According to this, it is about "advanced semiconductor production".

The European Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (ESMC) was founded in Dresden. The Taiwanese own 70 percent of ESMC. Ten percent each are owned by Infineon, Bosch and the Dutch group NXP, which emerged from Philips. These electronics companies are allowed to use parts of the factory.

Ceremonial inauguration: In Japan, white gloves are worn for paper cutting.
© TSMC

TSMC owns 86.5 percent of the shares in JASM in Japan. Six percent belongs to Sony, 5.5 percent to the major Japanese car parts manufacturer Denso and two percent to the Toyota car group. On the occasion of the opening, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said in a press release that the entire Japanese automotive industry was very grateful for the planned production of semiconductors for cars. He will never forget that TSMC helped the industry when car factories were unable to produce due to a shortage of chips.

Construction of the Japanese chip factory began in April 2022 and it is expected to process the first silicon wafers into microchips at the end of this year. The partner companies have since announced plans to build a second factory there, with production due to start at the end of 2027. Together, the two factories should be able to process more than 100,000 wafers per month. More than 20 billion US dollars will be invested there, with "strong support from the Japanese government", according to the press release. More than 3,400 jobs will be created in the two Japanese chip factories.

Intel announces new technology for Magdeburg

2,000 jobs are planned for ESMC in Dresden. The German government has provided a subsidy of around 50 percent for the investment of around ten billion euros. from the Climate and Transformation Fund. Production of 40,000 disks per month has been announced. The finest structures on the chips are to be 12 to 28 nanometers, which is sufficient for the needs of European industry. In Japan, 6/7 nanometers are also to be achieved in some cases.

Meanwhile, the US company Intel is building two factories in Magdeburg with a total of 3,000 jobs, which should also be ready in 2027. While TSMC only carries out orders for other electronics companies, Intel produces for its own needs, but also wants to attract customers from the industry. Like TSMC, Globalfoundries with its plant in Dresden is a pure contract manufacturer; the capacity of the Saxon factory is 850,000 wafers per year.

According to Handelsblatt, Intel wants to be the first customer of Dutch equipment manufacturer ASML to use the High-NA-EUV process for a new production technology, which enables particularly fine resolutions, and thus manufacture the world's most advanced semiconductors. However, the pilot line is being set up in the USA. The new production technology, known as 14A, is expected to reach market maturity in 2026. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told the German Press Agency that the Magdeburg site is currently planning the subsequent process.

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