More Than Trees Growing in Luther Forest

Last week Semico visited the GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Fab 8 construction site and was impressed for several reasons.

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By Joanne Itow
Last week Semico visited the GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Fab 8 construction site and was impressed for several reasons. Not only is the infrastructure significant but the people and surrounding community have welcomed GLOBALFOUDNRIES, embraced the project as well as the invasion of businesses and people that go along with the project. This made our visit extremely pleasant and trouble-free.

The GLOBALFOUNDRIES fab is a multi-billion dollar facility that is on schedule and on budget! That’s noteworthy when we consider this is the first major project for the Luther Forest Technology Campus and a major portion of the infrastructure construction took place during the Upstate New York winter.

The size of this project is difficult to comprehend. The Luther Forest complex is 1400 acres. GF owns 220 acres and cleared 110 acres for development of Fab 8. The site is supplied by three electricity substations and two electric utility companies, National Grid and NY State Electric and Gas (NYSEG). M+W Group is the construction contractor. They provided a concrete processing facility on-site to accommodate the 60,000 yards of concrete that was poured in just one month. But concrete is only one of a massive amount of material that has gone into the building of this plant. We were really curious who got the order for the 30,000 beach balls that were used to plug the waffle flooring before the resistive coating was applied. Someone was definitely thinking outside the box on that solution.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES is well on their way to meet the production ramp schedule in 2013 as their first production tool was actually delivered on the day of our visit, June 1st, 2011. The company currently has 441 employees on property and expects to have 900 employees on the site by the end of the year.

It’s easy to stir up emotions around the investment required to build a state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing facility these days. The actual dollar amounts are usually quoted in presentations or articles drawing a picture of how ominous semiconductor manufacturing has become. In some cases, it’s used to support an argument that continued innovation in semiconductor manufacturing is economically impossible. No one said it’s easy. Fab 8 has already encountered a few challenges and will face many more as production ramps and the semiconductor market goes through more market and technology cycles. But it is truly exciting to see a project of this magnitude and precision being built in the U.S.!

Bravo to GLOBALFOUNDRIES, M+W and the communities of Upstate New York.