This week, Intel said that it had begun to install equipment at Fab 34, its renewed production facility in Leixlip, Ireland. As expected, the new fab will get online in 2023 and in addition to the company's Intel 5 technology (previously known as 7nm) will be also capable of producing chips using Intel 4 node eventually.
The first tool to be installed at Fab 34 was a lithography resist track. The track coats wafers with photoresist before they are aligned and put into an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanner for exposure. After the exposure, wafers return to the lithography resist track for photo development and rinsing.
Intel began to upgrade its fab near Leixlip, Ireland in 2019. In a bid to install massive EUV scanners from ASML, Intel basically had to build the facility from scratch, which is why it will have taken it about four years to build and equip its Fab 34.
The new fab will enable Intel to build its advanced products using its Intel 5 node in Ireland starting next year and then adopt Intel 4 fabrication technology in 2024 to build even more sophisticated chips. Intel said that the new fab will double Intel's production capacity in Ireland, which will be useful for Intel's IDM 2.0 strategy that involves contract chipmaking.
In addition to Ireland, Intel plans to build a yet another manufacturing site in Europe to produce more of its own products as well as chips for third parties. The company was expected to announce location of the new site in 2021, bud had to delay the decision since new semiconductor production facilities costs tens of billions to build.