When Intel and Tower Semiconductor terminated a merger agreement in August, the two companies said they would find a way to collaborate going forward. Well, the two companies announced on Tuesday that Intel Foundry Services would produce chips for Tower.
Under the terms of the deal, Tower commits to investing as much as $300 million to purchase wafer fab tools and other 'fixed assets' that will be installed at Intel's Fab 11X in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. In exchange, Intel will provide a "capacity corridor" of more than 600,000 photo layers monthly to accommodate Tower's anticipated expansion.
For now, Intel will make power management chips for Tower using its 65nm power management BCD (bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) flows, but the two companies also mention 'other flows at Intel's Fab 11X.' This collaboration will pave the way for Tower's increased capacity and ensure it can meet the projected customer needs for 300mm advanced analog processing.
"This collaboration with Intel allows us to fulfill our customers' demand roadmaps, with a particular focus on advanced power management and radio frequency silicon on insulator (RF SOI) solutions, with full process flow qualification planned in 2024," said Russell Ellwanger, chief executive of Tower. "We see this as a first step towards multiple unique synergistic solutions with Intel."
Tower's 65nm BCD technology provides clients with enhanced power efficiency, reduced die size, and cost savings due to its top-tier Rdson performance metric. The expanded capacity from this deal will allow Tower to tackle bigger projects using current technologies and strengthen collaborations with top-tier industry clients, paving the way for robust future technology blueprints.
"We launched Intel Foundry Services with a long-term view of delivering the world's first open system foundry that brings together a secure, sustainable, and resilient supply chain with the best of Intel and our ecosystem," said Stuart Pann, Intel senior vice president and general manager of Intel Foundry Services. We are thrilled that Tower sees the unique value we provide and chose us to open their 300mm U.S. capacity corridor."