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Intel mothballs a semiconductor plant due to slowing PC market

Fab 42 remains an empty shell
Wed Jan 15 2014, 17:24
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CHIPMAKER Intel has announced that it will mothball one of its chip fabs.

The Fab 42 plant in Chandler, Arizona was due to open in late 2013, but falling worldwide sales of PCs have led the company to postpone opening it indefinitely.

Intel spokesman Chuck Malloy told Reuters, "The new construction is going to be left vacant for now and it will be targeted at future technologies."

When Intel announced it was building the fab President Barack Obama described it as an example of US manufacturing potential.

Although Fab 42 will remain closed, the other plants on the same site are still open and account for over 1,000 jobs in the area.

However, Fab 42 was to have been tasked with using bleeding edge chip technology capable of creating 14nm chips with transistors so small that 100 million could fit on the head of a pin.

Malloy went on to explain that although construction of the building is complete, the plant is still far from finished. He said, "The newer fab has not been equipped with the capital equipment. It has heating and air conditioning but the actual tools, the expensive stuff, are not in there."

To make up for not building out and opening Fab 42, other chip plants on the site will instead be converted to fab 14nm chips in smaller quantities.

Fab 42 is the latest example of how the downturn in PC sales is affecting chipmakers, and with Intel having arrived late to the mobile party, it has been among the most affected. µ

 

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