So long Chartered and thanks for all the chips!

Posted by Sylvie Barak

It’s been a long time in coming, but today AMD Fab spin-off, GlobalFoundries, announced it had finally finished integrating Chartered Semiconductor into one big fab family under the unified name and brand of GlobalFoundries.

The move essentially signals the re-launch of a bigger and hopefully even better Glofo, which now has its fingers in foundry pies across Asia, Europe and the United States.

Boasting a workforce of around 10,000 people, the new reiteration of the fab spinoff will remain headquartered in Silicon Valley but will have manufacturing operations in Singapore; Dresden, Germany; and an under construction fab in Saratoga County, New York.

With all of those people churning out chips, it’s a good thing the new Glofo already has some 150 customers spread out across the semiconductor ecosystem, including the likes of AMD, Qualcomm, STMicro, IBM, and Toshiba.

The new fab is hardly cash strapped either, with 2009 revenues of the two firms combined exceeding $2 billion.

The fledgling foundry is not exactly starting from scratch in terms of manufacturing potential either, with five 200 mm fabs and one 300 mm fab in Singapore (fab 7) along with a state of the art 300 mm fab complex in Dresden (fab 1) which is about to be expanded on and a work-in-progress 300mm facility in upstate New York (Fab 8), on track to begin ramping initial production in 2012.

Glofo reckons it may even be able to churn out some 1.6 million 300mm wafers annually by 2014, supplemented by 2.2 million 200mm wafers a year. That’s a lorra, lorra wafers.

And despite not being able to bail AMD out of its current supply issues on 40nm, Glofo still maintains it I sthe “foundry industry leader in time-to-volume on 40/45nm technology,” saying it hopes to “repeat this accomplishment with 32nm and “Gate First” High-K Metal Gate technology.”

Merging two firms often leads to a shower of pink slips, but Glofo’s Jason Gorss told TG Daily “We have no layoffs planned.”

Gorss added that the new and engorged foundry was now “neck and neck with UMC for the number two foundry spot and we bring a leading-edge capability that they don’t offer.” Sounds like a case of ‘my foundry is better than your foundry’ to us.

When asked to speak about the difficulties of combining such radically different cultures into one big fab melting pot, Gorss noted all had gone “remarkably smoothly so far.”

“GlobalFoundries brings a tremendous heritage in IDM manufacturing excellence and leading edge technology and Chartered brings tremendous foundry know-how and a worldwide customer profile consisting of many of the world’s largest design companies. 

"Certainly we have the normal challenges that come with integrating two large companies (systems, processes and infrastructure) but we’re really fortunate that we start life with two distinct set of complementary strengths,” he said.

“Of course there are the normal challenges of working across Asia, Europe and US time zones,” he concluded, stifling a sleepless yawn.