Intel takes delivery of chipmaking tool for new Irish project

Construction on Fab 34 began in 2019 with the facility due to start production in 2023

Intel Ireland has taken delivery of a massive chipmaking tool for its $7 billion (€6.17 billion) Fab 34 construction project in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

The machine, a lithography resist track, arrived by truck at the site after a flight across the Atlantic from an Intel Oregon plant.

The tool runs in conjunction with an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanner. It provides precision coating of silicon wafers before alignment and exposure inside the scanner. The wafer is then returned to the lithography tool for a series of precision oven bakes, photo development and rinsing.

A typical Intel fab contains about 1,200 advanced tools, many of them costing millions of dollars each.

Work on Fab 34 started in 2019, with the facility due to start production in 2023. The factory will double Intel’s manufacturing space in the Republic and pave the way for production of the Intel 4 process technology.

The company’s expansion in Ireland is part of its global factory build-out to meet burgeoning worldwide chip demand.

Intel also has tens of billions of dollars of new manufacturing infrastructure in the works in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Malaysia and is due to announce additional plant sites in the US and Europe shortly.

Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger told The Irish Times last year that the State was in contention for a planned $80 billion European investment but there is doubt as to whether it will succeed following concerns raised by Intel over planning delays and water and electricity supply issues.

Intel first established operations in the Republic in 1989. It employs more than 5,000 people here.