Watch Intel Deliver And Unpack Its $7B Fab 34 Site's First Huge Chip Making Tool

Intel engineers rolling a chip making tool at Fab 34
Intel is in the process of installing hardware at its Fab 34 manufacturing site in Ireland, and this week it took delivery of its "first huge chip making tool," the company said. Work actually began on the facility in 2019. If all goes to plan, it will be up and running in 2023, effectively doubling Intel's manufacturing space in Ireland.

The massive tool is a lithography resist track that was produced in Intel's Oregon plant. It hopped on a flight across the Atlantic Ocean, then was loaded up on a truck for delivery to the Leixlip, Ireland location. When up and running, it will work in conjunction with an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanner, which Intel describes as its "crown jewel" in manufacturing capability.

Its first purpose is to precision coat silicon wafers before they get aligned and exposed inside the EUV scanner. The job doesn't end there, though. After a wafer goes through the scanner, it returns to the lithography resist track for baking, photo development, and rinsing.

Intel says a typical fab is equipped with around 1,200 advanced tools, many of which can cost millions of dollars. Fab sites are rather ginormous and obviously expensive—construction on this one will the run the tab to around $7 billion, which incidentally is the same amount Intel sold its NAND flash memory and SSD business to SK Hynix.

Intel Node Names
The Fab 34 location will eventually crank out Intel 4 silicon, which before Intel renamed its nodes, was known as 7nm.  It will make full use of EUV lithography for Meteor Lake (client) and Granite Rapids (data center) chips, with Intel claiming a 20 percent performance per watt gain.

"Intel’s expansion in Ireland is part of the company’s global factory build-out to meet burgeoning worldwide chip demand. Intel has tens of billions of dollars of new manufacturing infrastructure in the works in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Malaysia," Intel said.

Intel also said it will be announce additional sites in the US and Europe soon, as part of its biggest manufacturing investment since the company was founded 54 years ago.