Intel eyes Ohio for a pair of chip factories amid global shortage

Intel this week highlighted plans to build two chip manufacturing facilities outside of Columbus, Ohio. The announcement is still early stages, involving the eventual allotment of $20 billion to construct the factories designed to tackle the ongoing global chip shortage — or at least address potential future issues.

The company sketched a rough timeline for the first factory, with planning beginning immediately and construction following before the end of the year. That facility would come online in 2025, marking its first new manufacturing site in 40 years. The project is set to span 1,000 acres of space, with enough room to fit up to eight chip factories, if things go as planned.

“Today’s investment marks another significant way Intel is leading the effort to restore U.S. semiconductor manufacturing leadership,” CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a release. “Intel’s actions will help build a more resilient supply chain and ensure reliable access to advanced semiconductors for years to come. Intel is bringing leading capability and capacity back to the United States to strengthen the global semiconductor industry.”

The construction phase will create 7,000 jobs, per Intel’s numbers, along with an eventual 3,000 permanent jobs once things are up and running. The Biden White House touted the news as “another sign of the strength of the American economy,” in a statement issued yesterday.

A rendering shows early plans for two new leading-edge Intel processor factories in Licking County, Ohio. Announced on January 21, 2022, the $20 billion project spans nearly 1,000 acres and is the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022, with production coming online at the end of 2025. Image Credits: Intel Corporation

It also used the opportunity to promote policy aimed at accelerating domestic R&D and manufacturing amid a COVID-fueled global supply chain crunch that has been seen as a black eye for the administration by some.

“To accelerate this progress, the President is urging Congress to pass legislation to strengthen U.S. research and development and manufacturing for critical supply chains, including semiconductors,” the administration writes. “The Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) in June and the Administration is working with the House and Senate to finalize this legislation. It includes full funding for the CHIPS for America Act, which will provide $52 billion to catalyze more private-sector investments and continued American technological leadership.”

Both parties also touted the security advantages of manufacturing chips in the U.S. — no doubt a nod to increased scrutiny around manufacturers like Huawei, which proved a major target for the previous administration. The company notes that, “the Ohio site will also provide leading-edge process technology to support the U.S. government’s unique security and infrastructure needs.”

The news also comes as Intel deals with increased competition from companies like Samsung, while firms such as Apple have opted to drop the company’s chips in favor of first-party designs.