Squeezing billions of tiny transistors onto ever-smaller computer chips requires one of the most complex manufacturing processes humans have devised. A fully equipped new fab costs about $10 billion and takes 6,000 construction workers about three years to complete. Intel’s manufacturing operations operate at a mega-scale worldwide, requiring a global supply chain that stretches across multiple continents.
- News Release: Intel Plans Assembly and Test Facility in Poland
- Ohio: Intel Announces Next US Site with Landmark Investment in Ohio | Intel Invests in Ohio (Press Kit)
- Ireland: Ireland Milestone: First Tool Roll-in at Fab 34
- Worldwide: All Intel Manufacturing News
- Worldwide: Intel Celebrates Manufacturing Day 2021
- United States: Competitiveness is at Stake for Chip Manufacturing (Bruce Andrews Editorial)
- Worldwide: Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger Announces ‘IDM 2.0’ Strategy for Manufacturing, Innovation and Product Leadership
- Arizona, USA: Intel Breaks Ground on Two New Leading Edge Chip Factories in Arizona
- New Mexico, USA: Intel Invests $3.5 Billion in New Mexico Operations (Press Kit)
- Worldwide: Intel’s Manufacturing Site Expansions and Investments (Fact Sheet)
Automated Material-Handling System
Travel Intel’s Autonomous Superhighway
It has more than 27 miles of multilevel thoroughfares on which 1,700 autonomous vehicles shuttle Intel’s most precious cargo. It’s the automated material-handling system – or AMHS – at Intel’s D1 factory in Hillsboro, Oregon. Intel runs overhead transport systems like this in every one of its six chip fabs worldwide. The boxes scooting along on the overhead tracks are front-opening unified pods – or FOUPs – that carry as many as 25 wafers, each containing hundreds of Intel® chips, on their weekslong fabrication journey starting as blank silicon discs.
Oregon’s wafer superhighway connects nine buildings, including the D1X and D1D factories. The two factories together are a little larger than 12 U.S. football fields. Take a quick 2-minute tour around Oregon’s D1 factory — captured before pandemic recommendations for social distancing took effect — to learn more about what AMHS leader Mutaz Haddadin calls the “heartbeat and blood flow of the fab.”
Intel’s Fab 42 in Arizona
Intel’s Fab 42: A Peek Inside One of the World’s Most Advanced Factories
One of the largest construction projects in the U.S. with almost 6,000 workers is underway on Intel’s Ocotillo campus in Arizona. Intel is outfitting Fab 42 with 1,300 tools (many of them requiring multiple trucks to move), a super overhead highway that zips silicon wafers around all four of the company’s Arizona factories, and a 12-acre water plant that will treat 9.1 million gallons of wastewater a day.
» View/Download video: Ocotillo, Arizona, Fab 42 Construction (B-Roll)
» View/Download video: Intel Manufacturing Day 2020 from Arizona’s Fab 42 (B-Roll)
Industry-Leading Glass Substrates
Video footage from July 2023 shows glass substrate tools and test units in Intel’s Assembly and Test Technology Development factories in Chandler, Arizona. In the factories, technicians build multi-chip packages that include substrates, computer chips and heat spreaders. Intel is leading the industry with a future generation of substrates made of glass, which will enable power improvements and transistor scaling to continue Moore’s Law. Intel delivers industry-leading packaging breakthroughs that enable performance, cost and scaling benefits for Intel and Intel Foundry Services customers. (Credit: Intel Corporation)
Intel’s Masking Operation
Intel Mask Operation: An Inside Look at a Critical Manufacturing Step
Around the corner from Intel’s Santa Clara, California, headquarters is an unassuming building that houses a critically important step in the process of manufacturing chips: the Intel Mask Operation.
What’s a mask? It’s a six-by-six-inch piece of quartz, a quarter-inch thick, that is used as the template to print circuitry onto a silicon wafer. To create a mask, engineers use computerized drawings from chip designers that are the blueprints for Intel processors and their billions of transistors.
Without the Intel Mask Operation, the company’s factories in Oregon, Arizona, Ireland and Israel would be unable to create a single processor. It takes 70 flawless masks to print the many layers of a single Intel 14nm die.
» View/Download video: The Intel Mask Operation (B-Roll)