Wolfspeed Announces Plan to Construct World’s Largest, Most Advanced Silicon Carbide Device Manufacturing Facility in Saarland, Germany

·6-min read
  • 200mm semiconductor fab will be the world’s largest, utilizing innovative manufacturing processes to produce next-generation Silicon Carbide devices

  • Expanded Silicon Carbide device manufacturing footprint in Europe will support accelerating customer demand and support the company’s long-term revenue outlook of $4 billion in Fiscal 2027

  • Important part of the company’s previously announced $6.5 billion global capacity expansion plan; which also includes the John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide, the world’s largest Silicon Carbide crystal growth facility currently under construction in North Carolina, and final build-out of the company’s Mohawk Valley Fab

  • ZF Friedrichshafen intends to make a significant investment in Wolfspeed to support the project’s construction

  • Planned as part of the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) for Microelectronics and Communication Technologies and dependent upon state aid approval from the European Commission

DURHAM, N.C. & ENSDORF, Germany, February 01, 2023--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wolfspeed, Inc. (NYSE: WOLF), the global leader in Silicon Carbide technology and production, today announced plans to build a highly-automated, cutting-edge 200mm wafer fabrication facility in Saarland, Germany. The company’s first fab in Europe will be its most advanced, creating a breakthrough innovation Silicon Carbide development and production facility in the European Union to support growing demand for a wide variety of automotive, industrial and energy applications. The Wolfspeed facility is planned as part of a collaboration within the IPCEI for Microelectronics and Communication Technologies framework, and is dependent upon state aid approval from the European Commission. IPCEI funding is intended to support technology development and initial deployment within this project. ZF Friedrichshafen also intends to support the new construction by making a sizable financial investment as part of a new strategic partnership announced separately.

The European fab announcement is an important part of the company’s broader $6.5 billion capacity expansion effort, which includes opening of the company’s 200mm Mohawk Valley device fab in April 2022, and the construction of The John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide, a 445-acre (180 hectare) Silicon Carbide materials facility in North Carolina, which will expand the company’s existing materials capacity by more than 10x. The first phase of construction for the materials facility is slated to be complete by the end of FY2024.

"This new fab represents a big step forward for both Wolfspeed and our regional customers, as we enhance the ecosystem for semiconductor production and innovation," said Gregg Lowe, President and CEO of Wolfspeed. "Silicon Carbide devices offer greater energy efficiency and are essential in the global shift toward sustainable electrification. This new facility will be crucial to supporting our expansion in a capacity constrained industry that is growing very rapidly, especially across the EV marketplace. It was important for us to have a facility located in the heart of Europe, near many of our customers and partners, to foster collaboration on the next generation of Silicon Carbide technologies."

The announcement was made at an event on the 35-acre (14-hectare) site of the planned fab, a former coal-fired power plant in Saarland, Germany. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in attendance to welcome Wolfspeed to the region, as well as Robert Habeck, Vice Chancellor of Germany and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, and Saarland Minister-President Anke Rehlinger. Representing the new partnership, ZF CEO Holger Klein, and Stephan von Schuckmann, Member of the ZF Board of Management also joined in the announcement. Wolfspeed also announced today a strategic partnership with ZF that includes an investment in Wolfspeed as well as a joint Silicon Carbide R&D facility in Germany, which is part of the same IPCEI framework. Fab construction is anticipated to begin in the first half of 2023, subject to approval by the EU Commission.

"This project is a great transformation driver and a job engine for a traditionally industrial region. Furthermore, it bundles important know-how in Europe and contributes to the implementation of the European Green Deal by reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions," said Saarland Minister-President, Anke Rehlinger. "We’re proud to have Wolfspeed, and have our region play such a vital role in advancing Silicon Carbide semiconductor innovation."

The fab will be designed for groundbreaking manufacturing processes to produce the future generation of Silicon Carbide devices. The new fab will also employ innovative sustainability measures, including high percentages of recycled water and a reduced emission footprint, which will serve as a model for more sustainable fabs in the future. The fab will employ more than 600 people when fully operational.

The adoption of Silicon Carbide power devices is rapidly growing across multiple markets, including renewable energy and energy storage, electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, industrial power supplies, traction and variable speed drives. Silicon Carbide enables smaller, lighter and more cost-effective designs, converting energy more efficiently to enable countless new clean energy applications.

About Wolfspeed, Inc.:
Wolfspeed (NYSE: WOLF) leads the market in the worldwide adoption of Silicon Carbide and GaN technologies. We provide industry-leading solutions for efficient energy consumption and a sustainable future. Wolfspeed’s product families include Silicon Carbide materials, power devices and RF devices targeted for various applications such as electric vehicles, fast charging, 5G, renewable energy and storage, and aerospace and defense. We unleash the power of possibilities through hard work, collaboration and a passion for innovation. Learn more at www.wolfspeed.com.

Twitter: @Wolfspeed
LinkedIn: @Wolfspeed

Wolfspeed® is a registered trademark of Wolfspeed, Inc.

Forward-Looking Statements:
This press release contains forward-looking statements by Wolfspeed involving risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that may cause Wolfspeed’s actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Actual results may differ materially due to a number of factors, including the risk that Wolfspeed does not receive receiving funding from the European Union’s Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) framework; that Wolfspeed may encounter delays or other difficulties in constructing and/or ramping up production in this new device factory on time, at the projected costs, with the anticipated job creation and to the extent of the anticipated production levels or at all; risks associated with the transition of high volume production from 150mm to 200mm wafers; the continued pace of the transition to using Silicon Carbide devices in electric vehicles and other industrial uses; Wolfspeed’s ability to develop and design Silicon Carbide devices that will continue to improve performance in broad markets; the risk that Wolfspeed may be unable to manufacture its products with sufficiently low cost to offer them at competitive prices or with acceptable margins; the risk that demand for Silicon Carbide will not grow as Wolfspeed expects; the rapid development of new technology and competing products that may impair demand or render Wolfspeed’s products obsolete; and other factors discussed in Wolfspeed’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 26, 2022, and subsequent filings. For additional product and company information, please refer to www.wolfspeed.com.

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