on the technological Deutsche Bank conferences Intel’s interests were represented by CEO Patrick Gelsinger, who at the event paid close attention to the company’s prospects of becoming one of the largest contract chipmakers. According to him, Intel is ready to attract new customers in this field by providing chip packaging services.
As the head of Intel clarified, in the current market conditions the company unexpectedly received an advantage in the form of its developed skills in arranging heterogeneous chips in a computing solution. It is hoped that this will attract a large number of contract customers, since, according to Gelsinger, the entire global industry is now suffering from a lack of chip packaging capacities at TSMC in the CoWoS process. The latter, in particular, is necessary for the manufacture of the same NVIDIA computational accelerators for artificial intelligence systems. In addition, TSMC promises to double core capabilities by the end of next year, but Intel believes the company is already ready to offer competing services to market participants.
At the same time, Gelsinger acknowledges that the Intel-sponsored Foveros packaging technology is slightly different from the TSMC proposal, but “Broadly it solves the same problem and does it very effectively”. According to the Intel boss, the company could be a success for many developers of high-performance accelerators for AI systems “Aid Partners for Advanced Packaging”. At the very least, Intel could make a name for itself with new customers, and they might consider ordering silicon wafer processing services from the company in the future. In general, Intel has many features that TSMC and Samsung lack, making its offerings extremely attractive to potential customers.
In his presentation at the Deutsche Bank conference, Patrick Gelsinger paid particular attention to the topic of optimal use of existing companies after the technical processes used there had lost their importance. While Intel used to be forced to write off equipment and regularly re-equip existing companies primarily in the interest of its own interests, the transition to contract manufacturing will open up new opportunities for it. According to the Intel boss, it will now be possible to house devices for packaging and testing chips in old companies. This achieves a more efficient use of capital.
Gelsinger also noted that he recently visited an Intel manufacturing facility in Oregon. This visit gave him confidence that the development of Intel 18A technology is on track, not only with the company’s own plans but also with the intentions of its customers. This technology will be production-ready by the end of next year, allowing Intel to regain its technology leadership in lithography in 2025.
At the same time, the Intel CEO emphasized that it will take years to attract contract customers to the silicon wafer processing industry, but the company is also making good progress in this area. The challenge of mastering five new processes in four years is a large capital investment, he says, but with Intel’s cost optimization efforts, technology leadership, and subsidies from US and EU governments, the company can achieve very competitive costs for the products it offers to customers. In addition, after the restoration of Intel’s technological leadership, they themselves will be attracted to the company’s services.
Recall that Intel is now openly mentioning the presence of three customers ready to receive products from Intel released with 18A technology by 2025. These are defense giants Boeing and Nrthrop Grumman, and Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson. Recently, a major customer looking for 18A chips gave Intel an upfront payment to be used to speed up the startup of packaging and test facilities for such chips in Arizona.