Intel Ireland last week chalked up a milestone in its $7 billion Fab 34 construction project: A team rolled in the new plant’s first huge chipmaking tool. The machine, a lithography resist track, arrived by truck at Intel’s Leixlip, Ireland, plant after a flight across the Atlantic Ocean from an Intel Oregon plant.
Ireland’s new lithography tool runs in conjunction with an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanner, a crown jewel in Intel’s manufacturing capability. The new tool provides precision coating of silicon wafers before alignment and exposure inside the EUV scanner. The wafer then returns to the lithography tool for a series of precision oven bakes, photo development and rinsing.
A typical Intel fab contains about 1,200 advanced tools, many of them costing millions of dollars apiece.
Work on Fab 34 started in 2019, with the facility set to go online in 2023. The factory will double Intel Ireland’s manufacturing space and pave the way for production of the Intel 4 process technology.
Intel’s expansion in Ireland is part of the company’s global factory build-out to meet burgeoning worldwide chip demand. Intel has tens of billions of dollars of new manufacturing infrastructure in the works in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Malaysia. The company has also said it will soon announce additional plant sites in the U.S. and Europe. Intel’s current manufacturing investments are the largest in the company’s 54-year history.