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IBM 300mm CMOS Fab, East Fishkill, NY, United States of America

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IBM's new 300mm semiconductor facility in East Fishkill (NY, USA) is ramping up to full production by the end of 2003. IBM has invested heavily in the $2.5 billion 14,000m² facility which will be handling the company's most advanced 90nm processes using copper interconnects, SOI (silicon-on-insulator) and low-k insulation. ICs from the new fab will go into equipment from mainframes, servers and supercomputers through to cellular phones and home game consoles.

IBM predict that East Fishkill will be at 2/3 production capacity by mid 2003 and will add 1,000 new jobs as it reaches full production by the end of the year. The facility illustrates how manufacturers are spreading the incredibly high fab start-up costs. IBM has reached co-operative manufacturing agreements with other major semiconductor manufacturers, for example, and is for the first time manufacturing high-volume parts of its latest process for a foundry customer.


Fishkill is in Dutchess County, off Interstate 84, and in an Empire Zone. This made IBM eligible for tax, utility and work creation credits. IBM's own investment attracted $475 million state incentives and the site employs over 5,400 workers.

The fab is a complete overhaul of a previous facility on the site. The automated manufacturing line is controlled by more than 1,700 microprocessors, each working at above 1GHz with over 110TB of storage. The 10,000m² cleanroom uses an overhead monorail to transport ICs between machines and workstations with no human contact. There are 320km of piping and tubing, nearly 1,000km of cable and wiring and 900,000kg of ductwork. When production is fully ramped, the fab will produce 500 to 600 wafers daily.

Energy efficiency at the 40-building site is being improved by a joint project between IBM, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and York International. NYSERDA is providing nearly $735,000 to help replace two 2,000t chillers and install a third, backup 2,000t chiller to meet the facility's cooling needs. The chillers will help serve approximately 430,000m² of building space, and will reduce energy consumption by 15% to help cut operating costs.


300mm wafers are at the moment twice as expensive as current 200mm ones, but hold double the number of ICs. In the future, IBM expects to reduce production costs by more than 30%. To fill production lines, the company has been making regular announcements of co-operative ventures.

The first circuits from the line will be what IBM believes will be the world's first mass-produced 90nm ICs. After an agreement between IBM and Xilinx (CA, USA), IBM will produce a new Xilinx FPGA (field-programmable gate array), reducing chip sizes over previous generations by between 50% and 80%.

This is the first time IBM is manufacturing high-volume parts for a foundry customer with its most advanced processes, normally used in high-end microprocessors, custom ICs and memories. IBM already makes Xilinx's VirtexX-II Pro ICs on a 300mm, 130nm process at East Fishkill and is licensing Xilinx's FPGAs for integration into its own Cu-08 ASICs.

A large part of the new facility will be dedicated to silicon-on-insulator (SOI) devices being developed jointly by IBM, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment and Toshiba. The team is spending several hundred million dollars over four years to develop new processes down to 50nm for system-on-chip (SoC).

Foundry chip maker Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing will also be using East Fishkill, enabling it to delay installation of pilot line production equipment into its own 300mm Singaporean wafer fab. IBM also expects to eventually use capacity in Chartered's 300mm fab. The companies have also announced co-operation on developing 90nm and 65nm processes, which may be extended to the 45nm node.

Another joint development agreement with AMD includes collaboration on 65nm and 45nm technologies, with first products based on the new 65nm technologies expected in 2005. AMD and IBM engineers have begun working together at East Fishkill.


IBM Microelectronics develops, manufactures and markets semiconductor, ASIC and interconnect technologies and products. The company has done pioneering work on materials only now entering semiconductor production, particularly copper wiring, SOI and Si-Ge transistors and low-k dielectrics.

'Main Street' at the East Fishkill IBM fab, where a 300mm facility is under construction.
Mask development.
Operator inspecting 300mm wafer.
IBM's 300mm wafer fab at East Fishkill, NY.
300mm wet etch/oxide.
300mm analysis with wireless PC.
300mm robot arm.