Bosch to invest more than €400m (US$463m) in semiconductor test and development in 2022

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Just a few weeks after opening its new wafer fabrication plant in Dresden, Bosch has now announced another nine-figure investment in its chip manufacturing and testing facilities.

In 2022 alone, Bosch plans to invest more than €400m (US$463m) in expanding its wafer fabs in Dresden and Reutlingen, Germany, and its semiconductor operations in Penang, Malaysia.

“Demand for chips is continuing to grow at breakneck speed. In light of current developments, we are systematically expanding our semiconductor production so we can provide our customers with the best possible support,” said Dr Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch.

Most of the capital expenditure is earmarked for Bosch’s new 300-millimeter wafer fab in Dresden, where manufacturing capacity is to be expanded even faster in 2022. Around €50m (US$58m) of the planned sum will be spent on the wafer fab in Reutlingen near Stuttgart in the coming year. Bosch will invest a total of €150m (US$174m) in additional clean-room space here from 2021 to 2023.

In Penang, Malaysia, Bosch is also building a test center for semiconductors from scratch. Starting in 2023, the center will test finished semiconductor chips and sensors. “These planned investments demonstrate once again the strategic importance of having our own manufacturing capacity for the core technology of semiconductors,” Denner added.

The new Penang test center will be a highly automated and connected factory set to perform testing of semiconductor chips and sensors starting in 2023. In total, Bosch has more than 100,000m2 of land available on Penang’s mainland strip, which will be developed in stages.

Initially, the test center will cover an area of around 14,000m2 – including clean rooms, office space, research and development, and training facilities for up to 400 associates. Earthworks for the new location started at the end of 2020, and work on the buildings began in May 2021. The test center is scheduled to start operations in 2023.

The additional testing capacity in Penang is intended to open up the possibility of locating new technologies in Bosch’s wafer fabs in the future, such as silicon carbide semiconductors in Reutlingen. In addition, the new location in Asia will shorten delivery times and distances for the chips.