Obama to take made-in-America tour to N.Y. chipmaking hub

After visiting an Intel plant in Arizona earlier this year, Obama is taking his made-in-America chip tour to upstate New York.

Construction of Globalfoundries Fab 8 began in July 2009, with the installation of the first manufacturing tools in June 2011, and is on track to begin initial manufacturing in 2012.  The facility will make cutting-edge 28-nanometer and 20-nanometer chips.
Construction of Globalfoundries Fab 8 began in July 2009, with the installation of the first manufacturing tools in June 2011, and is on track to begin initial manufacturing in 2012. The facility will make cutting-edge 28-nanometer and 20-nanometer chips. Globalfoundries

President Obama will visit a chipmaking region in New York that includes a just-completed Globalfoundries manufacturing facility, one of the most advanced in the world.

Globalfoundries (GF) announced that it will take part in hosting a visit by President Obama on May 8 at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering's (CNSE) NanoTech Complex at the State University of New York in Albany. The President's visit was originally planned to be held at Globalfoundries new Fab 8 facility but was moved to CNSE for logistical reasons, according to the chipmaker.

Fab 8 -- located in Malta, N.Y. -- is in New York's "Tech Valley," a tech hub that includes IBM's chip development and chip manufacturing campuses. The region also boasts education and research facilities such as the global semiconductor research consortia Sematech, Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, and CNSE.

Other companies that are part of the technology cluster in upstate New York include Air Liquide, Applied Materials, ASML, KLA-Tencor, M+W Group, Matheson Tri-Gas, and Tokyo Electron Limited.

Obama's visit will "highlight the historic public and private investments in new advanced manufacturing; research and development; and education facilities helping to revitalize upstate New York and strategically position the United States in the global economy," according to a statement.

Globalfoundries' Fab 8 could eventually land big customers like Qualcomm, which is rumored to be eyeing the chipmaker for production of its Snapdragon processor. If major chip suppliers like Qualcomm tap Fab 8, that would signal a shift in production to the U.S. from long-established contract manufacturers in Asia, where Qualcomm gets its processors manufactured today.

The erstwhile chipmaking arm of Advanced Micro Devices, Globalfoundries has transformed itself into a major contract chip manufacturer. GF has active plants in Dresden, Germany; and Singapore.

Occupying almost 2 million square feet, with an estimated capital budget of approximately $6.9 billion, Fab 8 is currently "the world's most advanced operating semiconductor fab," Globalfoundries claims. The facility is expected to ramp up volume production in late 2012 and, on full build out, will have a production capacity of approximately 60,000 wafers per month, the company said.

"On behalf of our more than 12,000 employees worldwide, and our more than 1,500 employees in New York, I thank President Obama and leaders in this region for recognizing the impact our investments are making to create new jobs and develop upstate New York as a premier hub for the global economy," said Ajit Manocha, CEO of Globalfoundries.

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