STMicroelectronics Inaugurates New 200mm MEMS Production Line in Italy

November 27, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

STMicroelectronics (ST) announced the inauguration of a new 200mm (8-inch) semiconductor wafer fabrication line dedicated to MEMS devices at its manufacturing site at Agrate, near Milan, Italy. ST claims that it is the first major MEMS manufacturer in the world to produce devices using 200mm wafers, which will reduce unit costs and accelerate both the expansion of current applications and the development of new MEMS markets.

MEMS technology, which allows the electrical and mechanical properties of silicon to be simultaneously exploited, is being rapidly adopted in a wide range of computer, consumer, automotive and industrial applications where the ability to measure or detect physical movement or inclination can be valuable in saving energy, making appliances easier to use, and providing a new level of realism and interaction in gaming systems.

"This significant investment in a 200mm production line underlines ST's commitment to maintaining a competitive manufacturing base in Italy," said Pietro Palella, General Manager, STMicroelectronics Italy. "As we move established manufacturing technologies to the Far East, in keeping with the global manufacturing trend, we are also continually capitalizing on the intellectual talents of Europe. This new facility reinforces ST's position at the leading edge of one of the world's most exciting markets. Our MEMS technology was originally developed in our nearby Castelletto design center, which is still our powerhouse for MEMS innovation, and we are proud that Agrate now hosts the world's most advanced MEMS production line."

So far, ST has invested approximately $40 million in transforming a former 150mm (6-inch) production area into a leading-edge MEMS production line. The new line, which currently occupies approximately 1,300 square meters and employs more than 100 people, is fully dedicated to MEMS devices, and also supports the MEMS R&D activities based in Castelletto. The area will be further increased to 2500 square meters in line with market demand.