President Barack Obama, on a tour of Intel's Hillsboro, Ore., chip fabrication plant Feb. 18 with the company's President and CEO Paul Otellini, was happy to hear the news that the world's largest IT processor maker will build its newest such facility on U.S. soil.
Otellini told the president and a crowd at the Oregon plant that Intel plans to invest more than $5 billion to build a new chip manufacturing plant at a site it owns in Chandler, Ariz.-about 15 miles southeast of Phoenix.
Fab 42, as it will be called, will become Intel's 11th fabrication plant. Construction, which will bring "thousands of jobs" to the local area, is to start later this year and will be completed in mid-2013, Intel executive Josh Walden told a teleconference audience.
Obama spoke to about 350 people during his visit to Intel's location in the western Portland suburb.
During his remarks, Obama praised Intel for its efforts in creating U.S. tech jobs with new chip plants in Oregon and Arizona. "By and large, Intel has placed its bets on America," the president said.
Obama also promoted spending federal dollars on math and science education so Americans could qualify for such tech jobs.
"Intel is possible because of the incredible capacity of America to reinvent itself and to allow people to live out their dreams," Obama said. "And so the question we have to ask ourselves now is: How do we maintain this climate?"
New Fab Production Scheduled for Late 2013
Chip making at the new location should be in full swing by the second half of 2013, Walden said. When it goes into production mode, the plant will employ about 1,000 permanent staff members, Walden, who serves as Intel's vice president and general manager of fabrication, said.
Walden said that when the new Arizona factory is completed, it will be the most advanced, high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world.
"We believe that products based on the leading-edge chips that will be made here will give consumers unprecedented levels of performance and efficiency across a range of computing devices-from high-end servers to ultra-sleek portable devices," Walden said.
The new fab will be built for the leading-edge 14-nanometer process. The nanometer specification refers to the minimum dimensions of transistor technology. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter-or one 90,000th the width of an average human hair.
Fab 42 will be built as a 300mm chip-production factory, which indicates the size of the round wafers that contain the processors.
About 75 percent of Intel's sales come from outside of the United States. Intel manufactures three-fourths of its microprocessors inside the country.
An artist's rendering of the Fab 42 plant to be constructed in Chandler, Ariz. (Photo courtesy of Intel)