Manufacturing facility for SiC epitaxial substrates that is unique in Europe; full vertical integration to support substrate supply for SiC devices and solutions; and the ability to assist automotive and industrial clients in their transition to electrification and improved efficiency. In order to meet the growing demand from ST’s customers for SiC devices across automotive and industrial applications as they move toward electrification and seek higher efficiency, STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, will build an integrated Silicon Carbide (SiC) substrate manufacturing facility in Italy. Beginning in 2023, production will enable a balanced supply of SiC substrate between internal and external sources. The SiC substrate manufacturing facility will be a first of its kind in Europe for the production of 150mm SiC epitaxial substrates in volume, integrating all stages of the production flow. It will be constructed at ST’s Catania site in Italy alongside the SiC device manufacturing facility that already exists. 200mm wafers will be developed by ST in the near future.
The vertical integration plan for ST’s SiC business is being advanced by this initiative in a significant way. The State of Italy will provide financial assistance for the €730 million investment over five years as part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, and at full build-out, it will result in the creation of 700 extra direct employment.
“To achieve its $20+B sales objective, ST is changing its worldwide production processes, adding capacity in 300mm manufacture and placing a significant emphasis on wide bandgap semiconductors. According to Jean-Marc Chery, president and chief executive officer of STMicroelectronics, “We are expanding our operations in Catania, the centre of our power semiconductor expertise, where we already have integrated research, development, and manufacturing of SiC with strong collaboration with Italian research entities, universities, and suppliers.
“This new plant will be crucial to our vertical integration in SiC, strengthening our supply of SiC substrate as we progressively scale up quantities to serve our automotive and industrial clients in their transition to electrification and improved efficiency.”
With a sizable portfolio of important patents and 25 years of effort, ST has become the industry leader in SiC. As the location of the largest SiC R&D and production activities, Catania has long been a key location for innovation for ST, effectively assisting in the development of novel technologies for producing more and better SiC devices. This investment will strengthen Catania’s role as a global competence centre for Silicon Carbide technology and for further growth opportunities thanks to an established eco-system on power electronics, including a long-term, successful collaboration between ST and various stakeholders (the University, the CNR—the Italian National Research Council—, companies involved in equipment and product manufacturing—as well as a large network of suppliers). ST presently produces its cutting-edge, high-volume STPOWER SiC products at its fabs in Catania and Ang Mo Kio (Singapore). At back-end locations in Bouskoura and Shenzhen, China, assembly and testing are performed (Morocco). Building on this experience, ST’s investment in this SiC substrate production plant marks an important turning point in the company’s journey to source 40% of its substrates internally by the year 2024.