I visited Intel’s new factory in Ireland. This is how semiconductors are created using EUV technology

I visited Intel's new factory in Ireland.  This is how semiconductors are created using EUV technology

Intel is implementing an innovative process using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology for high-volume production. I visited the new factory in Leixlip, Ireland, to see it for myself.

Leixlip is a small town west of Dublin. This is where the Fab 34 plant has been built over recent years, constituting a milestone in Intel’s production. The technology giant is thus implementing the next stage of its plan and launching a new generation of leading products. Investments in Germany and Poland are also elements of this comprehensive semiconductor production chain in Europe.

– I am proud of the Intel team, as well as our customers, suppliers and partners who have worked with us to get to this point and keep us on the path to returning to the leadership position in process technologies – said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, during the opening ceremony of Fab 34. Referring to California’s Silicon Valley, he said that the Silicon Island of Ireland has always been the basis of the company’s long-term strategy, and the opening of Fab 34 contributes to the EU’s goal of creating a more resilient and sustainable semiconductor supply chain.

Fab 34 in Leixlip. The tech giant is implementing Intel Process 4

Semiconductor production usually involves an advanced technological process. Looking for an answer to the question of what is unique about Fab 34, I decided to see it with my own eyes. Together with a group of journalists, dressed in many layers of protective clothing, we went through key elements of the production. With the new factory in Leixlip, Ireland, the company is implementing the Intel 4 process, which uses extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology, and is the first application of EUV in high-volume production (HVM) in Europe.

It’s no secret that the tech giant is looking to the future in this way, and Fab 34, together with a production facility in Magdeburg, Germany, and a semiconductor integration and testing facility near Wrocław, will pave the way for products such as the upcoming Intel® Core™ Ultra processors (codenamed Meteor Lake ), which will become the heart of computers using artificial intelligence (AI), as well as next-generation Intel® Xeon® processors, which will appear in 2024 and will be produced on the basis of the Intel 3 technological process.

The company declares its full commitment to achieving European technological ambitions, and thus to building a global, resilient and geographically sustainable semiconductor supply chain. “Intel’s activity in Ireland is a cornerstone of our global manufacturing operations and an important part of building a comprehensive semiconductor chain in Europe,” says Keyvan Esfarjani, executive vice president and chief global operations officer at Intel.

What’s hidden in Intel’s new factory in Ireland? I visited Fab 34

The new investment worth USD 18.5 billion is in fact a huge hall full of technologically advanced devices. Their work is coordinated by a team of specialists. The technological process runs simultaneously in several machines, each of which costs approximately USD 150 million. A system of robots that run along a 22-kilometer track located under the ceiling is responsible for transporting silicon wafers between individual sections.

Simultaneously with the launch of the factory, Intel presented its climate action plan – Ireland Climate Action Plan, which outlines actions for sustainable development. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption, and waste in landfills. The solutions introduced included the use of energy from renewable sources.

The company has also committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its global operations by 2040 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions from third-party products by 2050.

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