Micron on Thursday said it would build an all-new leading-edge memory fab near Boise, Idaho, the company’s home city. The fab will cost Micron $15 billion and will come online by the end of the decade.
The new Micron memory fab will be located adjacent to the company’s main R&D center near its headquarters in the city, which is expected to enhance operational efficiency, accelerate technology deployment and improve time to market. In fact, this new fab will be among the world’s few semiconductor production facilities that are located near a major R&D center. Another similar site — with both R&D and high-volume manufacturing operations — that Micron has is located near Hiroshima, Japan.
Micron will invest $15 billion in the new manufacturing facility, it also anticipates to get federal grants and credits made possible by the Chips and Science Act as well as the incentives provided by the state of Idaho. That said, the total cost of the fab will be higher than $15 billion.
Micron calls its new project a ‘leading-edge memory manufacturing fab’ without disclosing which type of memory it will produce. Meanwhile, it says that it will employ 2,000 workers and will become operational by the end of the decade, which may mean 2026 if the company starts construction in early 2023, or 2029 if the construction begins later. In any case, a DRAM production facility designed to make memory throughout the next 10 years or so is destined to be ready for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography tools.
Micron did not reveal what it plans to produce 3D NAND memory of DRAM device at its new fab. High volume production of 3D NAND requires more chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and etching machines, whereas DRAM needs more lithography tools, so different kinds of memory need different cleanroom configurations. In the recent years Samsung and SK Hynix built fabs that could be reconfigured from 3D NAND to DRAM and vice versa, but we do not know whether this is the case with Micron.
At present Micron has five wafer fabrication facilities worldwide: two 3D NAND fabs in Singapore, a DRAM fab in Japan near Hiroshima, and two DRAM fabs in Taiwan (near Taichung and near Taoyuan).
Micron’s $15 billion investment in its Boise, Idaho, fab is a part of the company’s plan to invest $40 billion in leading-edge memory manufacturing in the U.S. through the end of the decade. If the company manages to invest this amount of money in new fabs in the U.S., the majority (or at least a very significant portion) of Micron’s semiconductors (e.g., 3D NAND or DRAM devices) will be made in America about ten years from now.