On Thursday, the German chipmaker Infineon said it was expanding its production capacity to help address global supply shortages, and would be able to meet the needs of its customers in the long term.
CEO Reinhard Ploss said Infineon’s new plant in Austria, would be capable of producing enough power semiconductors each year to equip the drive trains of 25 million electric vehicles. A semiconductor supply crunch has forced carmakers like Volkswagen Ford and General Motors to idle production after the chip market was swept clean by demand for higher-margin consumer electronics.
According to analysts, the supply of automotive products like micro controllers will remain tight until mid-year as chipmakers adjust to demand that has bounced back since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last spring. Infineon rode out last year’s turbulence relatively well by building inventory. But it has faced challenges because – like its competitors – it outsources a share of production to Asian contract manufacturers that are running flat out. With the commissioning of the 1.6 billion euro ‘fab’ in Villach that makes chips on large, 300 millimetre wafers, Infineon will add a twin to a similar plant in Dresden, Germany and thereby gain flexibility.
Ploss told shareholders at Infineon’s annual general meeting, “This will enable us to control production at the two sites as if they were one factory.”
Infineon also said it had appointed Constanze Hufenbecher as chief digital transformation officer, a newly-created a role that will help integrate its recent $10 billion acquisition of U.S. Cypress Technologies.