Today Intel announced that it is building a new fab campus in Ohio. This is a huge announcement for the company as it builds its foundry business. It is also Intel’s fourth manufacturing state in the US behind Oregon, Arizona, and New Mexico. California is no longer used for chip manufacturing and its fabs are now data centers as we saw in our Inside the Intel Data Center at its Santa Clara Headquarters and its Super Computer piece.
Intel Building Fabs in Ohio
The fabs are being built in Licking County Ohio on the east side of Columbus, the state’s capital. Intel shared a number of images of the 1000 acre site and looking through Google maps, it looks about as remote as the pictures show. This is not too different from how Intel built fabs in Hillsboro Oregon outside of Portland Oregon.
Intel also assumes that most of its employees will pick car colors to match its building and trees. Also, it assumes that in the farming and manufacturing community of Ohio, people will no longer drive pickup trucks by the time the facility is built. Jokes aside, here is a rendering of the building.
The new Ohio plant is part of CEO Pat Gelsinger’s plan to use state and federal funding, along with a lot of Intel’s capital investments (this site is reportedly a $20B investment for Intel) to build more US domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity. It said that currently the US only has 17% of the global semiconductor manufacturing share.
Since this is Ohio, near the Ohio State University, Intel leaned on football references saying that its fabs would produce enough chips to cover 30 football fields a day. Our assumption is that this is American football fields.
The new fabs are slated to bring new technology jobs to Ohio in return for generous taxpayer incentives from Ohio. Intel said that the average salary at the facility will be $135,000 or almost twice the local family of four average household income.
Intel is continuing to push its storyline that it wants to be the manufacturing partner outside of Asia, and this is how it is pushing its foundry business. The various US government officials and Intel acknowledged that the CHIPS Act would accelerate investment in the Intel site. Intel initially is planning for eight fabs, two brought online quickly on leading process nodes with the ability to quickly expand to eight if needed. Our sense is that this move was squarely aimed to show the US Government that if it gets the funding it can quickly expand capacity.
During the announcement, Intel said production will start in 2025. That really highlights just how long building significant capacity in the semiconductor market takes. This campus will take longer since it is all-new, but building fab capacity is far from an overnight endeavor.
Hopefully, this is yet another step in helping to ease the current supply shortage.
Editor’s note: I lived in Dublin Ohio as a child before moving to Silicon Valley in the 1990’s. I edited Cliff’s headline with a saying I remember from 25+ years ago.