Bosch Opens Wafer Fab of the Future in Dresden
In the German town of Dresden, Bosch opened one of the world’s most modern wafer fabs. Highly automated, fully connected machines and integrated processes, combined with methods of AI will make the Dresden plant a smart factory and a trailblazer in Industry 4.0. In the virtual presence of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, and Saxony’s Minister-President Michael Kretschmer, the high-tech facility was officially inaugurated on June 7.
“The new Bosch wafer fab will boost our capacity in microelectronics. Microelectronics is the basis for nearly every promising technology, for applications of artificial intelligence, for quantum computing, and for automated and connected driving, which is also a Bosch specialty,” said Merkel.
“The new wafer fab is the single largest investment in the company’s history. This cannot be stressed too much. Its size and additional production capacity alone are impressive. The very latest methods of data-driven continuous improvement in production make the Dresden plant a smart factory. To put it another way: in this plant, natural and artificial intelligence have joined forces with the internet of things to form a productive symbiosis,” added German Chancellor.
“The state-of-the-art technology showcased at the new Dresden wafer fab is a great example of what public and private European actors can achieve when they join their efforts. Semiconductors will contribute to the development of industries like transportation, manufacturing, clean energy, and healthcare, here Europe excels. It will help strengthen Europe’s competitiveness as a cradle for cutting-edge innovations,” said Vestager.
“For Bosch, semiconductors are a core technology, and it is strategically important to develop and manufacture them ourselves. In Dresden, with the help of artificial intelligence, we will take semiconductor manufacturing to the next level,” said Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Bosch. “This is our first AIoT factory: fully connected, data-driven, and self-optimizing right from the start.”
Bosch is investing roughly one billion euros in this high-tech location. This is the biggest single investment in the company’s more than 130-year history. Production in Dresden will start as early as July, six months earlier than planned. From that time on, semiconductors made in the new plant will be installed in Bosch power tools. For automotive customers, chip production will start in September, and thus three months earlier than planned. The new factory will be an important part of the semiconductor manufacturing network. With it, Bosch is strengthening Germany’s position as a technology and business location.
“The new wafer fab is good for Europe, for Germany, and for Saxony. Directly and indirectly, it means many new jobs in a huge growth industry. This billion-euro investment strengthens Silicon Saxony and the entire European semiconductor industry,” said Michael Kretschmer, the minister-president of Saxony. On 72,000 square meters of floor space, 250 people are already working in the wafer fab in Saxony’s state capital. The workforce is set to grow to roughly 700 once construction work has been completed.