Reutlingen, Germany – In an additional move to combat the ongoing global chip shortage, Bosch plans to further extend its wafer fab in Reutlingen. More than a quarter of a billion euros is to be invested in creating new production space and the necessary clean-room facilities between now and 2025. This will give Bosch the firepower to meet the continuously growing demand for chips used in mobility and IoT applications. “We are systematically expanding our manufacturing capacity for semiconductors in Reutlingen,” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “This new investment will not only strengthen our competitive position, but will also benefit our customers and help combat the crisis in the semiconductor supply chain.” The construction of a new extension in Reutlingen will create an additional 3,600 square meters of ultramodern clean-room space. As of 2025, this additional capacity will produce semiconductors based on technology already in place at the Reutlingen plant. Bosch is also extending an existing power supply facility. The new production area is scheduled to go into operation in 2025.
In October 2021, Bosch announced it would be spending more than 400 million euros in 2022 alone on expanding its semiconductor operations in Dresden and Reutlingen, Germany, and in Penang, Malaysia. Around 50 million euros of this sum is earmarked for the wafer fab in Reutlingen. In addition, Bosch also announced plans to invest a total of 150 million euros in the creation of additional clean-room space in existing buildings at the Reutlingen facility over the period from 2021 to 2023. The further expansion of the site, which will see a new extension to the manufacturing facilities, will now supplement these measures. All in all, clean-room space in Reutlingen is set to grow from around 35,000 square meters at present to over 44,000 square meters by the end of 2025.
State-of the-art semiconductor manufacture
The Reutlingen wafer fabs use 150- and 200-millimeter technology, while the Dresden plant makes chips on 300-millimeter wafers. Both employ cutting-edge manufacturing methods based on data-driven process control. “AI methods combined with connectivity have helped us achieve continuous, data-driven improvement in manufacturing and thereby produce better and better chips,” says Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector. This includes the development of software to enable automated classification of defects. Bosch is also using AI to enhance materials flows. With its high level of automation, this state-of-the art production environment in Reutlingen will safeguard the plant’s future and the jobs of the people working there.
Growing demand for semiconductors
Bosch has been developing and manufacturing semiconductors for over 60 years, and for more than 50 of those years in Reutlingen – both for automotive applications and for the consumer electronics market. Bosch-manufactured semiconductor components include application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS sensors), and power semiconductors. The further expansion of the Reutlingen site will primarily serve the growing demand for MEMS in the automotive and consumer sectors and for silicon-carbide power semiconductors. “Bosch is already a leading chip manufacturer for automotive applications,” Heyn says. “And this is a position we intend to consolidate.” Measures to achieve this include the development and manufacture of chips made of silicon carbide, which Bosch has been producing since December 2021. Chips made of this innovative material are destined to play an increasingly important role in electromobility. Bosch is currently the only automotive supplier worldwide manufacturing power semiconductors made of silicon carbide.
The Reutlingen plant currently employs around 8,000 associates. They work in the development and production of semiconductors and electronic control units, in administration, and in the eBike Systems division.
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Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. According to preliminary figures, its 2021 sales came to 45.4 billion euros, or almost 58 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector pursues a vision of mobility that is safe, sustainable, and exciting, and combines the group’s expertise in the domains of personalization, automation, electrification, and connectivity. For its customers, the outcome is integrated mobility solutions. The business sector’s main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 401,300 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2021). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of 78.8 billion euros in 2021. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. With its more than 400 locations worldwide, the Bosch Group has been carbon neutral since the first quarter of 2020. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 128 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 76,300 associates in research and development, of which more than 38,000 are software engineers.