News, views and contacts from the global Semiconductor industry

Infineon Technologies 300mm CMOS Fab, Germany




Key Data


Infineon Technologies' new Dresden (Germany) plant should reach full capacity by summer 2003. The 300mm plant is already producing at a lower cost per chip than on 200mm wafers, with the "cost crossover" reached in December 2002. Infineon eventually expects the fab to reduce costs by 30%. When at full capacity, the plant will hit 28,000 wafer starts per month, added to Dresden's existing 19,000 (300mm) wafer starts per month.

The facility saw an investment of about €1.1 billion. M+W Zander and Leipziger Messe GmbH (the Leipzig Trade Fair company) have respectively invested €51 million and €118 million respectively and BMBF (The German Federal Ministry for Education, Science, Research and Technology) also contributed. About 4,600 people are employed at the Dresden facility, of which over 1,000 work in 300mm production. With the further expansion, the 300mm workforce could increase to a total of 1,700 by summer 2003 (another 1,300 jobs will be created amongst suppliers).

200mm and 300mm FRONT-END PRODUCTION INTEGRATED WITH ASSEMBLY AND TEST

The complete Dresden facility has 200mm and 300mm front-end production with integrated assembly and final test, and is set in an area of 260,000m². The 200mm wafers have 0.2 to 0.17 micron feature sizes, while the 300mm wafers have 0.14 micron and less. The fab makes logic ICs and DRAM as well as Advanced Memory Backend (AMB)

Infineon has from day one aimed to maximize yield at the fab, and this is now reaching above 90% on some wafers. Planned for 2003 are 110nm feature size devices, which will increase memory chip production and lower production costs by another 30%. Infineon is using the plant to produce 512Mbit and 1Gbit chips instead of their current 256Mbit devices.

1 Gbit DDR2 SDRAMs

Dresden will be producing devices like Infineon's 512Mbit and 1Gbit DDR2 (second-generation Double-Data-Rate) SDRAMs. These will go into next-generation servers, workstations, high-end PCs and notebooks. The 512Mbit memories will initially have data rates per pin of 400Mbit/s, 533Mbit/s and 667Mbit/s. Memory modules using the 533Mbit/s circuits would, for example, have a bandwidth of 4.3Gbytes/s.

The JEDEC compliant 512Mbit DDR2 chips are made using Infineon's 110nm DRAM process. They are configured as quad-bank DRAMs and will be available as x4, x8 and x16. Pre-fetch size is 4bit and the memories have differential strobe and variable data-output impedance adjustment. Infineon expects the ICs to appear in end-user systems in 2004.

Infineon's PC2100 1Gbyte DDR SO-DIMMs for high-end notebook and laptop PCs use eight 1Gbit devices (actually dual 512Mbit die in a single package). The package has a 200 pin connector, works at 2.5V and is organized in two 128Mbit x 64 banks.

SEMICONDUCTOR MEMORY PRODUCTS

Infineon's Memory Products business group develops, manufactures and markets semiconductor memory products. The company focuses on high-end products, since these need higher level technological expertise, making them less sensitive to sudden price drops.

In 2002, Infineon made memory agreements with Taiwan-based Winbond Electronics and Nanya Technologies and Chinese manufacturer, SMIC. Infineon is using the agreements to strengthening its positions in Asia and in memory chips more widely.

The company also acquired Ericsson Microelectronics' core business, supplying products to the infrastructure market for mobile telecommunications. A joint venture (called StarCore, LLC) with Motorola and Agere will develop and license next generation DSPs. Another joint venture (AMTC) with AMD and DuPont Photomasks will develop and manufacture masks for next generation chip designs.

AUTOMOTIVE, INDUSTRIAL, COMMUNICATIONS AND MEMORY ICs

Infineon provides semiconductor and system solutions for automotive and industrial, wired communications, secure mobile and memory products. In Q1, 2003 sales were €5.21 billion, with about 30,400 employees worldwide. This was an increase of 10% sequentially and 47% year-on-year, mainly driven by mobile phones and the automotive and industrial segments.

Infineon has also returned to profitability in the memory market, although it expects continued pricing pressure on wireline communications and secure mobile segments.