In the five years since GlobalFoundries broke ground in Malta, Saratoga County, New York for their Fab 8, they have exceeded their promise of job creation in the community. Instead of its initial projection of 1,200 new jobs, the company is responsible for approximately 2,400, including construction of the Technology Development Center on its existing 223 acre campus.
The direct jobs have a trickle down effect resulting in 3,000 indirect jobs according to a study by Dr. Everett Ehrlich, business economist. GlobalFoundries also made a capital investment of $6.9 billion, plus the building of the new Technology Development Center which increases that number by $2.1 billion as reported by the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC). In January, Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Company’s (ATIC) chief executive said they plan to invest up to $10 billion over the next two years in GlobalFoundries’ upstate New York semiconductor factory.
GlobalFoundries has an interesting history. It came into being in March 2009 through a partnership between AMD and Mubadala Technology (formerly known as ATIC). In January 2010, the company picked up Chartered Semiconductor. In 2012, AMD [NYSE:AMD] divested itself of GlobalFoundries which is now wholly owned by Mubadala Technology (formerly known as ATIC). With corporate offices in California’s Silicon Valley and manufacturing facilities in Germany, Singapore and New York, GlobalFoundries now has five 200mm fabs and three 300mm fabs in production.
In Saratoga, their first chips were manufactured in 2012 using the 32nm SOI (silicon on insulator) process. The customer for the 32nm microprocessors which featured HKMG (High-K Metal Gate) and eDRAM was IBM. The SOI process was used to build the microprocessor that powered IBM Watson, the question-answering computer that won the Jeopardy quiz show.
Since then, the relationship between IBM and GlobalFoundries has waxed and waned. Big Blue was courting GlobalFoundries to buy its not-so-profitable chip-manufacturing operations. However, reports indicate that GlobalFoundries’ bid was lower than what IBM had hoped for. It is said that GlobalFoundries wanted IBM’s intellectual property, not its physical property which is no longer state of the art.
GlobalFoundries has not relied solely on IBM business. For example, a fabless semiconductor company is using the 55nm eFlash NVM Platform from GlobalFoundries which is a member of the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC). Scaleo chip headquartered in Sophia-Antipolis, France specializes in automotive electronics for powertrain and in-vehicle information. The company has developed a new family of microcontrollers embedding unique technologies related to real-time process and control of highly electrified internal combustion engines and electric motors using the GlobalFoundries’ Platform. The microcontrollers are based on programmable logic and a set of ISO 26262 compliant functional safety features to improve powertrain system safety integrity and accuracy.
The Scaleo order is only one of many opportunities for prospective GlobalFoundries employees to work on. If you want to be one of the many international applicants interested in working at the Malta campus on the grounds of a former missile testing range, GlobalFoundries is hiring. A few of the open positions are: hardware test engineer, manager of information technology, senior financial analyst, and equipment technician.
Despite its success, GlobalFoundries has its problems ranging from anecdotal to tragic. This week, three individuals were charged with grand larceny for stealing scrap metal from the plant. On a more serious note, a man employed by a construction company working on the new Technology Development Center was fatally injured as they were moving an industrial air exchanger into a fourth floor opening. Construction was suspended during an investigation of the accident.