One of the major innovations Global Foundries plans to offer their customers includes access to some proprietary tools that were developed by AMD over a number of years to help streamline and partially automate the manufacturing process.
The APM (Automated Precision Manufacturing) framework is comprised of a number of highly automated and synchronized decision making tools, that includes proprietary technologies and logic. There are five integrated algorithmic analysis systems fed by fab-wide data integration and an array of customized monitoring systems. The APM framework is designed to help enable faster time to market and real-time or near real-time feedback on products.
While the plans are well laid out, the work on Global Foundries' Fab 2 has just begun. Touring the grounds, we snapped a few shots of construction vehicles and workers preparing the land. Although the actual ground breaking on Fab 2 isn't scheduled to happen until July, the State of NY has already begun work on a new exit ramp on Interstate 87 that will lead directly to the Luther Forest Technology Campus where Fab 2 will reside. These are all exciting developments that we hope will bear fruit, not only for Global Foundries, but the region itself. With companies like Global Foundries, IBM (Fishkill), and others already in the area, upstate NY has the potential to be the next hotspot in silicon technology development. At the very least, Global Foundries will bring more high-tech jobs back to the U.S, instead of continuing the trend of outsourcing to competing nations.
In addition, this outsourced partnership fab approach is obviously critical for Global Foundries main customer, AMD, in maintaining a competitive model versus Intel. It will be interesting to watch this all play out in the years ahead, as this approach for AMD begins to bear fruit. The shift in dynamics of the battle between the two rivals will be significant and will likely change the landscape from a market perspective, not just the upstate New York geographic topology. It will also be interesting to see if Global Foundries is able to land new customers that were or are rivals of AMD, or even rivals from within their existing alliances. At this point, we can only speculate. However, we suspect there are some entities that would like to keep some strategic chip manufacturing within the U.S. Rivals or not, if Global Foundries offers advanced services that competing foundries cannot, there is at least a possibility that former rivals may one day be coming to Global Foundries for fabrication services as an alternative to TSMC or the other usual suspects.