During the construction of new facilities in Ohio, Intel made no secret that it will serve third-party customers with advanced 18A (18 angstroms – 18-tenths of a nanometer) technology, and US defense customers will be among the first to receive their orders. . The company also plans to arrange packaging and product testing for such customers in Arizona.
Over the summer, US Department of Defense officials complained that up to 98% of the microelectronic products the Department needs were manufactured or tested in Asia. Intel will attempt to address this issue by establishing a semiconductor testing and packaging line for the US Department of Defense at its existing Arizona facilities in the foreseeable future. The department buys $3 billion worth of chips annually, as explained in an interview. EE times Randhir Thakur, President of Intel Foundry Service (IFS), and the company has previously awarded him a $250 million contract to develop advanced semiconductor components with a defense customer.
Intel intends to leverage the agency’s SHIP ecosystem, which allows for the integration of disparate computing components into a single package. The US Department of Defense will be the first Intel customer to receive 18A semiconductor chips from the company in the second half of 2024. They already use a surrounding gate (GAA) transistor structure.
IFS’s customers already include MediaTek, Amazon and Cisco, which brought in around $800 million in revenue in Intel’s first year of contract business. That’s not a lot compared to the $56.9 billion TSMC received last year, but Intel is still very early on in that journey. It is noteworthy that Intel will allocate “untouchable quotas” to large customers like MediaTek, which will guarantee the customer stable production even with high demand for the company’s services.
The acquisition of Israeli company Tower Semiconductor will add to the IFS ecosystem a network of facilities in Israel, Europe, the United States and Japan, which together generated approximately $1.5 billion last year. Intel’s business will benefit from these automotive and metaverse assets as they allow a wide range of different sensors to be brought to market at optimal costs.
Developer Toolkit Version 0.9 is now available for IFS customers to release Intel 16-process based products. In the case of Intel 18A technology, the toolkit has reached version 0.5, indicating that it is in the exploratory phase, although process development is still full throttle. According to an Intel representative, the 18A process technology is comparable in its parameters to the well-known 2nm process.
To become a US defense company, Intel must go through a complex and lengthy security certification process, but holding such a certification would automatically increase its credibility with other customers. One of the confidence-building steps will be to set up a chip packaging and test line in Arizona, since similar operations with Intel products are now being conducted in either Malaysia or China or Vietnam. Intel currently employs six different chip packaging companies that distribute orders to 18 locations.