Intel shelves delayed Fab 42 facility

January 15, 2014 // 10:49 a.m.

Tags: #arizona #barack-obama #chandler #chuck-mulloy #fab #fab-32 #fab-42 #fabrication #intel #reuters #semiconductor

Intel has shelved plans to open its Fab 42 facility in Chandler, Arizona to produce 14nm chips, instead looking to leave the plant vacant for future expansion while upgrading existing facilities to the new process node.

Construction began on Fab 42, designed to increase the company's already sizeable investment in the Chandler region and provide a home for its 14nm process node, in 2011 with the company announcing an investment in the facility of over $5 billion. Despite some high-profile accidents at its sister facility Fab 32, including a chemical leak which injured 43 workers last year, the construction of Fab 42 was widely hailed as a positive for the region - including a shout-out from President Barack Obama in his 2012 State of the Union Address.

Sadly for Chandler, the opening has been indefinitely delayed. Speaking to Reuters, Intel's Chuck Mulloy confirmed that the facility will be 'left vacant for now' with a view to perhaps utilising the plant for future process nodes. The announcement comes following a delay to the plant's opening, which was originally scheduled to have begun production by the end of 2013.

According to Mulloy, the facility is complete with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems but has not yet been outfitted with fabrication equipment - 'the actual tools, the expensive stuff, are not in there,' he told Reuters. Mulloy has not, however, provided an explanation of the reasoning behind Intel leaving a $5 billion facility vacant and empty beyond claiming 'it boils down to better capital utilisation.'

With Fab 42 to remain closed for the foreseeable future, Intel will instead work on upgrading its existing 22nm facilities to support the new 14nm process node.

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