One of the country’s most significant construction projects has reached an important milestone in the effort to solidify the United States’ position as a leader in the manufacture of semiconductors.
Intel, which for more than 40 years has contributed to the state’s growth as a chipmaking hub, announced this week that the initial portion of the cleanroom is “weather tight” and the “blow down” phase has begun at the company’s two new leading-edge chip factories on its Ocotillo campus in Chandler.
Blow down refers to the first step of putting the “clean” in “cleanroom,” as clean, filtered air is pushed into the space that will eventually become the manufacturing fab floor.
The construction of two new fabs in Chandler – a $20 billion investment – is expected to create more than 3,000 high-tech, high-wage direct jobs, and 3,000 construction jobs. Additionally, the expansion will support an estimated 15,000 indirect jobs within the local community. Already, more than 13,000 Arizona residents work at Intel.
The new fabs will bring Intel’s total investment in Arizona to more than $50 billion during its time in Arizona. Intel contributes an estimated $8.6 billion annually to the state’s economy.
“Our commitment to Arizona runs deep, and as we expand our operations, we remain dedicated to addressing the growing demand for semiconductors and helping the United States regain its leadership position in this vital industry,” said Dan Doron, Intel vice president and general manager of Fab Construction Enterprise. “This milestone represents the result of great teamwork, proficient teams and exceptional craftsmanship of the tradespeople, and it’s thanks to their hard work that we’ve made such significant progress on our site while keeping our culture of caring and the safety of all as our top priority.”
Arizona business community leaders say Intel’s Arizona expansion is of critical importance to the U.S.’ position in the international semiconductor industry.
“We know that semiconductors are absolutely essential to today’s economy. As we learned during the pandemic, any disruption to the manufacture of chips or to their supply chain will have serious consequences for economic growth and competitiveness,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden said. “The announcement by Intel that the new Chandler cleanroom construction has reached this critical phase is not only good news for Arizona, but for the entire country as we look to significantly strengthen our domestic semiconductor output.”
The Ocotillo construction site is home to a daily workforce of 6,000 tradespeople who so far have collectively worked more than 10 million job hours on the project, pouring 342,000 yards of concrete and constructing more than a mile of steel trestles.
Intel has a goal to recycle at least 90% of its construction waste. In 2023, the company has kept more than 25,000 tons of construction debris from its Arizona waste streams.
“Intel is not only a leader in the manufacture of semiconductors, but it’s a sustainability leader, too,” Arizona Manufacturers Council Executive Director Grace Appelbe said. “Whether by recycling its construction waste, conserving and restoring water to achieve net-positivity for water use, or relying on green energy sources to meet its power demands, Intel is setting the example for sustainable manufacturing.”
Intel announced the investment in the two new fabs in March 2021 and broke ground in September of that year.
PHOTO: Accompanied by construction crews on Oct. 12, 2023, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger tours the company’s two new fabrication plants being built in Chandler, Arizona. The new factories on the company’s Ocotillo campus are part of Intel’s multibillion-dollar global manufacturing build-out, which includes new or expanded facilities in Oregon, New Mexico, Ohio, Malaysia, Ireland, Poland, Israel and Germany. (Credit: Intel Corporation)