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Nexperia to invest $200 million in Hamburg chip-making facility

Semiconductor manufacturer Nexperia plans to invest $200 million to develop the next generation of wide bandgap semiconductors (WBG) such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN), and to establish production infrastructure at the Hamburg site.

At the same time, wafer fab capacity for silicon (Si) diodes and transistors will be increased. The investments were jointly announced with Hamburg’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr Melanie Leonhard, on the occasion of the 100-year anniversary of the production site.

To meet the growing long-term demand for efficient power semiconductors, all three technologies (SiC, GaN, and Si) will be developed and produced in Germany starting in June 2024. This means Nexperia is supporting key technologies in the fields of electrification and digitalization.

SiC and GaN semiconductors enable power-hungry applications, such as data centers, to operate with exceptional efficiency and are core building blocks for renewable energy applications and electromobility.

These WBG technologies have great potential and are increasingly important for achieving decarbonization goals.

Achim Kempe, COO and managing director at Nexperia Germany, says: “This investment strengthens our position as a leading supplier of energy-efficient semiconductors and enables us to utilize available electrical energy more responsibly.

“In the future, our Hamburg fab will cover the complete range of WBG semiconductors while still being the largest factory for small signal diodes and transistors.

“We remain committed to our strategy of producing high-quality, cost-efficient semiconductors for standard applications and power-intensive applications, while addressing one of the greatest challenges of our generation: meeting the growing demand for energy and while reducing the environmental footprint.”

First production lines for high-voltage GaN D-Mode transistors and SiC diodes started in June 2024. The next milestone will be modern and cost-efficient 200 mm production lines for SiC MOSFETs and low-voltage GaN HEMTs.

These will be established at the Hamburg factory over the next two years. At the same time, the investment will help to further automate the existing infrastructure at the Hamburg site and expand silicon production capacity by systematically converting to 200 mm wafers.

Following the expansion of the clean room areas, new R&D laboratories are being built to continue to ensure a seamless transition from research to production in the future.

In addition to advancing technology, the semiconductor supplier expects the initiative to stimulate local economic development. The investments make an important contribution to securing and creating jobs and enhancing the European Union’s semiconductor self-sufficiency.

Nexperia works closely with universities and research institutes to benefit from each other’s expertise and promote highly qualified employee training. Nexperia relies on a robust research and development ecosystem in Hamburg and throughout Europe.

Development partnerships and co-operations, for example, in the field of GaN technology as part of the Industrial Affiliation Program (IIAP) of the nanoelectronics research center imec, play a crucial role. These and other collaborations ensure continuous innovation and technological excellence in Nexperia’s products.

Stefan Tilger, CFO and managing director at Nexperia Germany, says: “The planned investment enables us to bring WBG chip design and production to Hamburg.

“However, SiC and GaN are by no means new territory for Nexperia. GaN FETs have been part of our portfolio since 2019, and in 2023 we expanded our range of products to include SiC diodes and SiC MOSFETs, the latter in collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric.

“Nexperia is one of the few suppliers to offer a comprehensive range of semiconductor technologies, including Si, SiC, and GaN in both e-mode and d-mode. This means, we offer our customers a one-stop shop for all their semiconductor needs.”

The investment is yet another milestone in the 100-year history of Nexperia’s production site in Hamburg-Lokstedt. Since the foundation of Valvo Radioröhrenfabrik in 1924, the site has continuously developed and today supplies around a quarter of the global demand for small signal diodes and transistors.

Since its spin-off from NXP in 2017, Nexperia has invested substantial sums in the Hamburg site, increased the workforce from 950 to around 1,600 and brought the technological infrastructure up to the state-of-the-art.

This continued expenditure underlines the company’s commitment to remaining at the forefront of the industry and providing innovative solutions to its customers worldwide.

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