By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2019 Issue
Cree, Inc. will invest up to $1 billion in the expansion of its silicon carbide capacity with the development of a state-of-the-art, automated 200mm silicon carbide fabrication facility and a materials mega factory at its U.S. campus headquarters in Durham, NC. The investment is part of the company’s long-term growth strategy, and marks its largest investment to date in fueling its Wolfspeed silicon carbide and GaN on silicon carbide business. Upon completion in 2024, the facilities will substantially increase the company’s silicon carbide materials capability and wafer fabrication capacity, allowing wide bandgap semiconductor solutions that enable the dramatic technology shifts underway within the automotive, communications infrastructure and industrial markets.
The $1 billion investment includes $450 million to build out Cree’s North Fab production facility in an empty building on the Durham campus, and $45 million to convert a smaller fab to a second silicon carbide crystal growth facility.
The plan delivers additional capacity for its industry-leading Wolfspeed silicon carbide business with the build out of an existing structure as a 253,000-square-foot, 200mm power and RF wafer fabrication facility as an initial step to serve the projected market demand. The new North Fab is designed to be fully automotive qualified and will provide nearly 18 times more surface area for manufacturing than exists today, initially opening with the production of 150mm wafers. The company will convert its existing Durham fabrication and materials facility into a materials mega factory.
“These silicon carbide manufacturing mega-hubs will accelerate the innovation of today’s fastest growing markets by producing solutions that help extend the range and reduce the charge times for electric vehicles, as well as support the rollout of 5G networks around the world,” said Lowe.
“We believe that this represents the largest capital investment in the history of silicon carbide and GaN technologies and production with a fiscally responsible approach. By using existing facilities and installing a majority of refurbished tools, we believe we will be able to deliver a state-of-the-art 200mm capable fab at approximately one-third of the cost of a new fab.”
The expanded campus also creates high-tech job opportunities and will serve as an advanced manufacturing workforce development initiative. Cree plans to partner with state and local community and four-year colleges to develop training programs to prepare its workforce for the long-term, high-quality employment and growth opportunities the new facilities will present.
PELLA GROWS IN ROCKINGHAM COUNTY
Pella Corporation, a leading manufacturer of window and door products for residential and commercial use, will create 124 jobs at its new manufacturing facility in Rockingham County. The company will invest nearly $20 million in the new operation and hiring will begin in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Founded in 1925, Pella is a family-owned company. The company is headquartered in Pella, IA and employs more than 7,000 people.
Pella will create a variety of positions in Rockingham County, and the average salaries will be $41,648, above the county average of $35,401. Pella’s expansion in Rockingham County will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project will grow the state’s economy by an estimated $247 million.