n the 1986 film "True Stories," in which a semiconductor plant plays a starring role in a small southwestern U.S. town face to face with modernity, narrator David Byrne intones, "What time is it? No time to look back."
That commentary certainly rings true for Intel Corp., whose US$3-billion-plus projects at its Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Ariz. (Fab 32), and at Kiryat Gat, Israel (Fab 28), made our list of Top Deals of 2005. The company is also in the midst of major investments in India and Oregon, just announced a new chip fab in Vietnam, and is expanding in Rio Rancho, N.M., as well.
That's where we found Bruce H. Leising, vice president, technology and manufacturing group, and director, corporate services for Intel. When he takes a second to look back, even he is startled at the warp speed that's become the modern norm. Asked to compare today's project development timelines to those of projects he's worked on — like the company's D2 plant in its hometown of Santa Clara, Calif., or its Fab 10 in Leixlip, Ireland — his first take was that it takes longer now because the projects are so much bigger. But then he looked into it more closely.
"As I got information on how long our earlier fabs took to build, it surprised me," he says, noting the vast increase in cleanroom square footage. "We are building fabs that are three to four times the size of D2 or Fab10 in about two-thirds of the time."
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